crime united states

Written by Hafsa Ammar 6:51 pm Articles, Current Affairs, Published Content

The True Face of Crime in the United States

Many people around the globe look at America as a beacon of hope and success, yet upon a more detailed perusal of the nation, it is found to be a cesspool of high crime rates and a faulty justice system. These criminal acts include robberies/larceny, armed violence, fraud, assault, sex crimes, and homicides.
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Hafsa Ammar is a student of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the National Defence University, Islamabad. Her areas of expertise are hybrid warfare, narrative building, and nuclear deterrence in South Asia.


Although there are too many to count, crime in the United States constitutes robberies/larceny, armed violence, fraud, assault, sex crimes, and homicides. An unexpected contributory factor within all of these criminal acts is the high levels of police brutality accompanied by inherent classism and racism.


Theft, robberies, and larceny are terms used synonymously to explain property crime, which is the act of illegally taking a possession away from its rightful or legal owner. Property crime is statistically the most common act of misconduct in the United States. This is mainly due to ease of affairs. Recurrent targets of theft are more often than not automobiles, cycles, cash, and valuables such as jewelry, electronic gadgets, etc.

The Crimes Americans Worry About Most
The Crimes Americans Worry About Most” by Statista is licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0.

Robbing an individual is not that difficult in this day and age, especially in America which breeds a culture of violence for its citizens living below the poverty line. Makeshift weapons, knives, and even firearms are easy to come by in the state and are used to threaten unsuspecting persons into handing over their personal belongings.

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Gun Violence

Guns and firearms are presented to be an endemic of sorts for America. Guns are responsible for more than 500 fatalities in the world every single day, but this issue is slightly more concentrated in America due to its massive gun lobby and a similarly sized corresponding issue of school shootings.

U.S. Gun Production Has Tripled Since 2000
U.S. Gun Production Has Tripled Since 2000”  by Statista is licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0.

Amnesty International conducted a comprehensive report on gun violence and concluded that around thirty-nine thousand individuals are killed via guns in the US annually.

School Shootings

School shootings are an unfortunate norm in America now. Students and teachers alike have honed themselves in safety drills and panic protocols. The most recent shooting took place on 15th February this year when a teenage girl was shot on school grounds. The school in question, Baltimore City School, responded with an appropriate amount of outrage and upped its security.

The question remains how far can school administrations in the United Staes go with such security measures (clear backpacks and metal detectors) before they actively move to the root cause of the crime i.e., unregistered and easily accessed firearms?

Gunfire on School Grounds Sees Sharp Increase
Gunfire on School Grounds Sees Sharp Increase” by Statista is licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0.

American masses have protested and marched for better, more secure gun laws. The ‘March for Our Lives’ rally is one of many demonstrations demanding an accountable government and a better justice system.

However, there is a massive gun lobby standing in their way. Headed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), the concept bounces on the sentiments of ‘freedom’ and ‘security’. The NRA represents one of the most powerful lobbies in America, and it is due to the direct channel of funds between NRA members and legislators. The issue has been distorted into political play therefore the aspect of citizen security does not really hold up in comparison.

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Fraud is the act of deception used for personal gain. It can be a misrepresentation, deception, concealment of the truth, or plain lies and manipulation. There are multiple categories which include but are not limited to credit card fraud, unauthorized banking fraud, misappropriation of assets, stolen tax refund fraud, internet, and social media fraud, etc. 

White Collar Crime

It is a non-violent crime that depends on the concealment of truth and corruption for monetary or entrepreneurial advantage. It can be committed by both companies and government officials. The financial loss caused by white-collar crime in the United States ranges from millions to trillions every year. The past year on its own saw over four thousand prosecutions for said crime and yet most cases go unregistered.

Sex Crimes

America perceives itself as the champion of human rights and as the leading nation in the world fighting for women’s rights. The reality, however, is a bit bleak. An American citizen is a victim of a sex crime almost every 68 seconds. Both males and females are victims of such offenses, but the female gender has a ninety percent higher probability of being a victim.

Sex crimes are offenses that have a sexual aspect to them – these include rape, harassment, child marriages, child molestation, cyber-sex crimes, child pornography, sexual assault, etc. The patriarchal set-up of American society has led to a larger target being painted on women’s backs in regard to sex crimes.

Prosecution and incarceration are two steps of the justice system where offenders of this particular nature often fall through the cracks. Domestic violence and rape survivors are mostly hesitant to come forward due to the general lack of faith society has in a woman’s testimony and because of the fear of retaliation as well.

There have been several cases where women have come forward and reported stalkers and abusers, which when not acted upon by law enforcement, turned violent and killed them.

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Although a big claim to make, inherent internalized racism is present in all tiers of American society and it is a big contributor to crime. Non-white members of society are both more likely to be victims of a crime due to societal discrimination and in certain cases perpetrators too due to the relative deprivation they’re subjected to.

Black, Brown, Asian, and Latin communities are more visibly different from the ideal ‘White American’ rhetoric that their members are often victims of hate crimes. There is an overabundance of cases in this regard. The recent unfortunate murder of Michelle Go – her being pushed onto railway tracks, saw a rise in anti-Asian hate protests and sit-ins in the US, with people clamoring to bring attention to this prevalent attitude of hate that exists in the social fabric.

Police Brutality

Police brutality or violence is the use of extreme force and violation of civil and human rights by law enforcement agents. America has a long and bloody history of police officers using undue force against people of color, especially black men. George Floyd is the most prevalent example of this as he lost his life due to a police officer kneeling on his neck to subdue him even after he surrendered.

Racist biases have cost many families and their loved ones and it is high time that this socio-cultural and structural fault line is approached and resolved by the American government. There are several organizations and law enforcement agencies that work tirelessly to combat crime in the United States and these include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other various county and district-level police departments.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article/paper are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Paradigm Shift.

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