Politicians argue endlessly about how to reduce crime. Mostly, they favour tougher laws and longer prison sentences. But there’s little evidence that those work.
That’s because, for example, the vast majority of murders aren’t committed by evil people. Generally it’s just one young man killing another in a dispute that suddenly turned violent. Usually over a matter of personal honour, social status, possessions, or a woman.
Both young men will mostly be unmarried and earning little or no money. While the number of murders committed by wealthier men or women is smaller.
Other violent crimes are also mostly committed by this same group of young, unemployed men who are not married. But why is that the case?
It’s because young men with no money struggle to find wives. Because it makes no sense for a woman to marry a man with no prospects.
Even if she has a good job herself. So women who want to marry “don’t find good men,” while others become mistresses and second wives of far richer men.
And the men who can’t find jobs turn to crime in an attempt to get rich enough to attract a wife. It’s not a question of morality, or how they were brought up.
Wherever a large number of young men lose out to richer men in their search for a wife, crime rates are high. And the risk of getting caught and punished is not a deterrent at all because having no children is a dead end anyway.
So the instincts that lead young men to risk death in search for a wife make all sense in the world. Others may be deterred by harsh laws and long prison terms. But not young men without wives.
That’s amply confirmed by the way young men turn away from crime if they get married. It’s not that their wives have changed them, it’s simply because a man who has a wife has far less incentive to take those sorts of risks. Hanging on to what he has becomes his best strategy. And so most young men stop being criminals once they get married.
So how can we reduce violent crime?
Well, endless new laws and longer prison sentences don’t help at all. Neither does moralising. It does help to have an efficient police force.
It helps to encourage monogamous marriages although that has never stopped women from becoming rich men’s mistresses.
Taxation policies that redistribute wealth of people who’ve become extraordinarily rich also help. Because crime rates are always highest in countries where income differences are large.
But the only real cure for violent crime is economic and social policies that create jobs. Especially the kind of jobs that enable young men to earn an honest living, attract a wife and start a family.
And as a bonus, there’ll also be far fewer mistresses and second wives.