Poverty is the biggest crime in India.

What motivates people to commit crimes? What’s the connection between rising crime rates and what’s causing them? Inequality, disparity, necessity, a sense of lawlessness, or desperation resulting from a mix of those above? Our Dostoevskian (sounding) journey continues.

In a previous analysis, we discovered economic growth and property crimes. Now we’ll look at other macroeconomic variables such as unemployment and poverty to see if there’s a link (and a quick one) between them and increased property crime across the country.

The answer isn’t straightforward. Perhaps there isn’t much of a link. But, on the other hand, the contrary may be more interesting: high poverty does not equal high crime, and lowering poverty does not equal lower crime. There may be sound social reasons for all of this, but we cannot discuss them. That is to say, you may not find all of the answers, but you will undoubtedly come up with a new set of questions.

The unemployment rate in 2012 was 4.7 per cent, up from 3.8 per cent in 2009-10, according to the latest figures from  Labour Ministry. In India, the number of people living in absolute poverty in 2012 was 269.7 million, accounting for 21.9 per cent of the population (Tendulkar Methodology). In 2009-10, however, 354.6 million impoverished people accounted for 29.8% of the population.

As a result, between 2009 and 2012, the rate of property crimes in Delhi and Haryana increased. On the other hand, while the crime rate in Maharashtra has remained unchanged over the same period, it has decreased in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.


In terms of jobless, we can see how it has increased in Delhi but decreased in Haryana. And we can observe that unemployment is reducing in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka, while crime is either staying the same or decreasing.

Although crime rates are rising in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh, poverty levels decrease. Only Kerala displays a decreasing crime trend, as well as lower poverty rates.

Let’s look at the patterns in unemployment in the bottom five states. Only Uttarakhand has experienced a rise in unemployment and violence. Unemployment in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh has decreased, while criminality has increased. Only Kerala has claimed a decrease in crime and, as a result, a reduction in unemployment.

Regardless of whether crime rates rose or fell, poverty levels have decreased in all states, including those with the lowest unemployment rates. In addition, the relationship between crime and unemployment differs by state. As a result, while these two variables impact crime, they are not the only indicators used to explain crime trends in each state.

“Poverty and crime must be handled simultaneously and at the same time,” said Jose María Costa, executive director of the World Drug Report and Crime (UNODC). Poverty, insecurity, and underdevelopment, according to the UNODC, are both causes and consequences of crime. Therefore, a thorough, balanced approach is required, allowing everyone to act with appropriate pressure and effectiveness on several fronts.”