The Effects of Crime and Homelessness on the Economy of the U.S. Virgin Islands

Crime and homelessness are some of the negative issues that affect most countries in the world. In the recent years, there has been an increase in the rate of crime and homelessness in the Virgin Islands and this has greatly affected the economy of the region as well as that of the United States in general. Different types of crime take place in the Virgin Islands including murder, gun crime, robberies, color crime, carjacking, larceny, rape among others. These crimes are committed mostly by the youths and for different reasons.

The effect of crime and homelessness in the Virgin Islands has been felt mainly in the following sectors; education, economic growth and development, health and social welfare.

In order to fully understand the negative effects of crime and homelessness it is important to look at each of them separately and the implications it has on the society.

Different Types Crimes and its effects on the economy of the Virgin Islands

From the introduction part of this article, it has been noted that different types of crimes take place in the US Virgin Islands. These crimes have different effects on the economy as well as on the lives of the residents living in the region.

Levinson (2002) has observed that the general rate of crime in the US Virgin Islands increased from 20.1% in the 1980’s to 24.1% in the 1990’s. However, this rate has doubled from the year 2000. Levinson (2002) also gives the statistics of robbery, rape and larceny.

Statistics show that the rate of robbery also went up from 411 in 1980s to 577 cases per day in 1990s. Current studies show that the robbery rate in the US Virgin Islands has shot up to more than 1,200 cases per day. Rape cases went up from 66 in the 1980’s to 74 in 1990’s (Levinson 2002).

Apart from rape and the normal robbery which are the most common types of crimes, there are others that may seem to be minor but they do have a major impact on the economy and the environment as well. The rate of larceny has been on a steady rise from the early 1980’s to date. The rates went up from 3,284 in the 1980s to 3,311 in the 1990s (Levinson, 2002). The current rate is double the rate of the 1990’s due to various factors.

Factors that have led to the rise of crime in the US Virgin Islands

No one was born to be a criminal. Most youths are driven into crime by different reasons. Some of the reasons include:

Unemployment: Most youths in the US Virgin Islands have joined criminal gangs due to lack of meaningful employment for them to do. They therefore resort to using cruel methods to earn a living (Greenberg & Greenberg, 2006).

Alcoholism, drugs and drug abuse: This habit has driven the youths to crime in order to finance their drug addiction and in the end most of them have died out of drug addiction problems (Greenberg & Greenberg, 2006).

Peer pressure: Most youths come from the same “hood” and the pressure from their elders who have managed to survive through crime has attracted the rest into the profession (Greenberg & Greenberg, 2006).

It is good to note that most youth around the world go through the same life cycle and temptations of life and therefore the above reasons do not only affect the youth in the

US alone but also those from other nations. Crime and criminal activities in the US Virgin Islands have been motivated by several factors as mentioned next.

This is part 1, of a 3 part post. make sure to read part 2 & 3


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