CRIME CAN BE STOPPED...here's how!
Originally produced in 1975, Ambassador College.
CRIME is generally defined as "deviant behavior contrary to the accepted codes of society." Society will not survive if most of its people break most of its laws most of the time, so man has instituted punishment for serious crimes in an attempt to stop criminal behavior. Nevertheless, crime has flourished from the time Cain killed Abel. The latest newspaper headlines — be they high-level "Watergate" scandals or the latest mass-murder spree — give testimony to man's never-changing criminal nature. Ancient regimes, such as Babylon and Rome, were noted for their crimes of violence.
Ancient regimes, such as Babylon and Rome, were noted for their crimes of violence. The Dark Ages, Medieval Europe, and even the so-called Age of Reason were plagued with highway bandits, murders of passion, and government scandals. Even a half-century ago — in the Roaring Twenties — America was also a criminal society of Al Capone, John Dillinger, the Teapot Dome scandal, and "Prohibition" speakeasies. Whether certain types of crime are increasing or decreasing is irrelevant — crime level has always be en too high.
Since World War II, however, crime has taken on a new nature. Increased mobility, urbanization, industrialization, and the advent of "situation ethics" (the belief in "do as you please; no act of and by itself is wrong") have sparked new forms of criminal behavior: urban race riots, college rebellion, sky-jacking, international terrorism, and electronic surveillance. It seems that as the tools of technology increase, standards for behavior decrease. The scientific method was successfully adapted to all human endeavor from transistor radios to moon shots, but not to human behavior.
"Good" and "Bad" People
These new forms of crime — highly visible and highly publicized — have reinforced the layman's image of the world as divided into "good" people and "bad" people. The security technologies have offered ever more sophisticated means of protecting the property and person of "good" people against the nocturnal onslaughts of "bad" people.
Those "good" people given to paranoia hurriedly purchase the gadgets of science to protect them. A man's home has literally become his castle — complete with an electronic "moat" infested with automated laser-beam activated "alligators."
But a glance at "average" human behavior causes one to ask who and where are all these "good" people? One scientific survey of over 1600 randomly selected New Yorkers revealed that only one percent of this "silent majority" was innocent of a group of felonies which could have landed them a year or more in jail! The "average" person admitted having committed 15 such serious crimes, but, of course, none of these "felons" were in jail. In Texas, a similar study conducted at the same time showed that "good' college students were guilty of only slightly less crime than "bad" juvenile delinquents who were serving time in the local reform school, mental hospital, or penitentiary. In both studies, the "good" people's crimes were performed quite secretly and hence were unreported. Even among those millions of felonies which are reported to police agencies, only one percent of the guilty criminals are captured, tried, convicted, and jailed.
Evidently a "crime" is not a crime as long as one can "get away with it" or if those in authority wink at it. The new Golden Rule is "Do unto others before they do it unto you," and the Eleventh Commandment of Big Business is "everything has its price."
It's a familiar frustration to America's youth that the naive, weak and friendless among them end up in jail for the same act that sons of millionaires and public statesmen can buy their way out of. A small burglary by a poor person nets a multiyear jail sentence, while a multimillion dollar business fraud or tax evasion conducted over cocktails is just "good business." The youth point out another hypocrisy involved in labeling murder as a capital crime if it is premeditated between husband and wife, but if it is premeditated between a U. S. soldier and a Southeast Asian, it is heroism. In fact, refusal to kill in this case means imprisonment or deportation without amnesty.Why This Booklet Was Written It is the purpose of this booklet to define the biblical standards of what crime is, to make clear the causes of crime, and show the methods for conquering it. Instead of telling "good" people how to stop the "bad" people, it will show you how you can stop your own "bad" behavior. You cannot change the behavior of anyone but yourself, and you can do precious little to defend yourself from "bad" criminals, beyond the commonsense rules available from any police office.
Instead of tilting against the windmill of organized crime, this booklet shows the only way "organized crime" can be stopped: by not patronizing it. Prostitution is an "organized crime," but the customer makes it necessary; gambling is in most places illegal, but it is the largest of all "organized crimes" due to the demand of "good" people.
The same analogy applies to drugs, loan sharking, protection, graft and corruption, and all the other "services" of organized crime. In such crimes there are two criminals: buyer and seller. This booklet cannot convert the seller, but aims at stamping out the buyers of organized crime.
This booklet attempts to erase the causes of crime by isolating them as they lie in each person. The vast majority of crime in all nations is committed by "good" people. Stores lose ten times more to employees than they do to shoplifters; banks lose much more to embezzlers than to bank robbers. "Good" people break the traffic rules, beat their children or wife, steal items from work, disrespect the police, commit adultery, and tell "little white lies" to cover it all up.
All such acts are rationalized by human nature. Embezzling is called "borrowing"; "everybody cheats" on his income tax; and some murder is called "justifiable" homicide. Human beings want to look "good," but they don't want to DO good. They will be "honest" in front of people, but cheat when nobody is looking. Very few people have "internalized" their good behavior, so that they obey laws when nobody is looking. This booklet will show you how and why you can and should learn to "internalize" good behavior, and it will give you the standards for what is "good."
Acknowledgments Many police chiefs have aided in the production and promulgation of our previous booklet by this title. We wish to thank Los Angeles County Sheriff Peter Pitchess, Pasadena Police Chief Robert McGowan, and California Highway Patrol Captain A. D. Majors for their help and endorsement. This current revision builds on the foundation of the previous booklet, and these additions, of course, do not reflect official police endorsement. We believe the principles in this booklet, however, reflect the best of sociological, psychological, theological, as well as criminological thought on the important subject of crime.Chapter One: The Curse of Crime
"Make a chain: for the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence." Ezekiel 7:23
CRIME is a growing concern to all nations. Especially in American cities, the average citizen lives in daily fear of becoming a crime statistic. Consequently, fewer Americans dare to walk the streets, and the empty streets then become even more dangerous. It is often said that the "good" people live in a self-imposed prison while the "bad" people run free.
Violent crime is by no means limited to urban America, but the comparisons between the United States and other affluent Western nations make America's "leadership" clear. Compared to Great Britain, the United States has twenty times as many murders (adjusted for population differences), ten times as many robberies, and twice the assaults. Many American cities have more murders per year than all of Great Britain!
In England and Wales, West Germany, France and Italy (which have a combined population slightly larger than the United States), there are less than 2000 murders annually, just one tenth the United States total. There were more murders in New York City and neighboring Baltimore last year than in Western Europe's four leading nations combined! ...
Youth Crime in America In the United States, the "baby boom" has come of age. This teen-age "population explosion" explains in part the large increase in youth crime, but the social conditions, home environment, and lack of moral training explain a lot more about the explosive nature of this increase. Reared in an era of permissive child rearing, within a society of "no standards," all underneath the shadow of The Bomb, American youth have been indulging in a record crime spree. The F.B.I. crime statistics bear record of this junior crime wave.
More 16-year-olds than any other age group are arrested for violation of the seven F.B.I. Index crimes. The next three most common age categories in the crime lineup are occupied by 17-year-olds, 18-year-olds, and 15-year-olds, in that order. About half of all arrests are among those under 18, including the majority of arrests for burglary, larceny, and auto theft.
The most bizarre category in the F.B.I. statistics is the 10-and-under age category. These "innocent" little tots were responsible (in 1971) for 5 murder arrests, 26 arrests for forcible rape, 371 for auto theft,702 for robbery, 1356 for arson, and over 31,700 for burglary and larceny (theft).
Violence in the schools is becoming a major arena for youth crime. Urban schools are being renamed the "hallways of fear." A California high school principal recently stated:
"For teachers and students alike, the issue... is no longer learning, but survival." He described his school as a fort, enclosed by steel-mesh fence with padlocked gates and three armed guards patrolling inside. Even then, many children are afraid to come to school. Street gangs have added urban school campuses to their wars of "territorial imperative."
At another California high school campus, students reported seeing several gang members carrying sawed-off shotguns and handguns. At still another school, a man walked into a classroom and attempted to rob the cowering students. One student didn't cower — he pulled a gun from his pocket and shot the robber.
Some cities have tried to crack down on anarchy in their schools. In the city where this booklet is printed, Pasadena, California, such an attempt met with retaliation. The dean of student's office and the principal's office in one Pasadena high school were destroyed when students (presumably) saturated the rooms with gasoline and threw in a match.
Such is the youth crime scene as described so eloquently by the Prophet Isaiah: "... The child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient.... children are their oppressors" (Isaiah 3:5,12). There are many reasons for this: the environment, child-rearing permissiveness, social conditions, greater opportunities for crime, and the violent entertainment which immerses the child's mind from cradle to criminal court. These causes of crime will be further examined in the following chapter, "The Causes of Crime."
The F.B.I. statistics for youth and adult crime, however, cover only seven of society's serious (and visible) sins. For a more complete picture of our criminal society, we must look to the "secret sins": the hidden "white-collar" crime, and the many crimes which go unreported, undetected, and even uncategorized by the F.B.L Index crimes, or any other statistical measurement known to man.
White-Collar Crime Millions of crimes which never make the F.B.I. "Index" are just as serious as those that do. In fact, all seven F.B.I. Index crimes commonly occur among families, friends, and business associates of "good" people, and they routinely go unpunished. Thirty years ago, sociologist Edwin Sutherland dubbed these crimes "white collar."
Not all "white-collar" crimes are perpetrated by the proverbial button-down gray-flannel-suited white-collared corporate executive. "White collar" is more a state of mind than a state of dress. It refers to serious crime committed under the veil of "respectability." It reflects human nature's desire to be (or be thought of) as "good," but to actually partake in evil. All such "white-collar" crimes are psychologically justified by the perpetrator as "good" or "necessary."
Long before "white-collar crime" was popularized in the 1940s by Dr. Sutherland, sociologist Edward Alsworth Ross wrote in 1907 that a criminaloid was different from a criminal (a "deviant" or "bad" person) in at least five ways: 1) "The key to the criminaloid is moral insensitivity" (a double standard); 2) "The criminaloid is not antisocial by nature" (he is civic-minded and hospitable); 3) "The criminaloid practices a protective mimicry of the good" (having a form of godliness); 4) "The criminaloid plays the support of his local or special group against the larger society" (putting "loyalty" before ethics); and 5) "The criminaloid flourishes until the growth of morality overtakes the growth of opportunities to prey" (white-collar crimes must be uncovered by a doggedly moral outsider). (Excerpted from The Atlantic Monthly, January 1907, pp. 44-50.)
The Crime of "Good Business"
In 1907 perhaps it was easy to see the excesses of crimes in business. Those were the days of the robber barons, sweatshops, unpunished monopolies, and the righteously indignant "muckrakers" who uncovered it all. It is true that such "white-collar crime" is currently not as visible, but business crime is much more pervasive and expensive than at any time in modern history.
Not only is such white-collar crime growing rapidly, it is also outpacing the more widely publicized "crime in the streets" (or should it be called "blue-collar crime"?). Fraud and, embezzlement cost the U.S. over $1.5 billion yearly — or about five times the loss from all conventional robberies. Bank embezzlements alone total ten times the loss from bank robberies; yet embezzlement is often settled "discreetly" out of court and off the criminal record. On the same day recently, a bank president was convicted of embezzling 4.6 million dollars and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment; meanwhile three youths who robbed a bank of "just" $14,000 were given 16 years punishment — in the same court, in the same day!
Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark noted that just one high-level corporate price-fixing fraud of the early 1960s netted more money each year than did all of the hundreds of thousands of robberies, burglaries, and thefts (larcenies) during those years. In 1973, every category of serious crime increased faster than population growth (0.7%) Source: F.B.I. Uniform Crime Report, August, 1974.
Other common "white-collar" crimes include tax evasion (costing the "honest" taxpayers billions of dollars each year), false corporate auditing, secret stock deals, forgeries, mail fraud, political "influence peddling," secret campaign contributions, wire-tapping, and many crimes of omission: failing to meet health standards, disregarding housing standards, using shoddy building materials, and policemen accepting payoffs for "not looking." The most subtle crime of omission is plea bargaining, in which a more serious crime (such as rape) will not be prosecuted if the criminal pleads guilty to a smaller crime (theft).
It is unfair, however, to focus only on businessmen, since the average citizens — be they unemployed, blue collar, white collar or pinstriped — are guilty of secret crimes for which less fortunate humans go to jail.
"Family Felonies" The F.B.I.'s seven Index crimes are certainly serious, but how about their counterparts among "good" people? Violent crimes often occur within families, yet they go unreported. Forcible rape often occurs between thwarted lovers or even between husband and wife, yet it is seldom punished. Child beating is a common form of "aggravated assault," but it is difficult to detect when the evidence is hidden at home. Subtle forms of murder include abortion, euthanasia (mercy killing), negligent poisoning, home accidents, drunk driving — or even international warfare — but these murders either escape punishment entirely or earn a mere slap on the wrist.
Suicide is just as much a murder as a standard homicide, and there are more suicides than murders. Almost 80% of all homicides are murders of family or friends, and most suicides are induced by familial conflict.
Crimes against property also have their "white-collar" counterpart. As we noted, embezzlement is no more than white-collar burglary. This crime is not as common as simply pilfering tools from the job, or robbing work time from the boss, but these are "white-collar" larcenies (petty larceny or grand larceny, depending on the severity and frequency). The proverbial fraudulent used-automobile salesmen (those who run back the speedometer, lie about engine quality, or accept stolen cars) are "white-collar" auto thieves. The tax evader is a white-collar bank robber — in this case a Federal bank, the Treasury. These "secret sins" belie the theory that poverty alone causes crime. The well-to-do, the government officials, the wise and educated are also shown to be common crooks.
Self-Justification The white-collar criminal justifies his behavior, but then so does the street criminal. Both kinds of criminals only perform crimes that their mind at that point will justify. Sociologist John Lofland writes, "A society of [no values] makes it relatively easy to justify almost anything in the name of almost anything. Under such conditions almost anybody can see almost anything as morally right, for at least a time" (Deviance and Identity, p. 100).
Sociologist Donald Cressey noted a common denominator among the hundreds of embezzlers he studied. Nearly all felt they were merely "borrowing" the money. As Cressey noted, they found a verbal "formula which describes the act of embezzling in words that do not conflict with the image of oneself as a trusted person."
Shoplifters justify themselves by complaining about store overpricing (and vice versa); tax evaders complain about the government misusing "their money"; hotel patrons assume that the towel, silverware, and Gideon Bible are part of the hotel bill (even though the Bible they take says, "Thou shalt not steal"; they're just "borrowing" it). Insurance claims are invariably padded (since "it's coming to me"); inside stock tips are "fringe benefits"; and a corporate price conspiracy is "good business."
There is a euphemism for every crime. Even the highest "white-collar crime" in American government history — the Watergate scandal — was excused by the highest office as "zeal in a righteous cause." Nobody, high or low, wants to be labeled a "common crook," but they will perform or condone the dirty work of a "common crook." Human nature wants to be good, but do evil.
The Prophet's Warning Perhaps if a modern-day prophet clamored against "falsifying the balance," "treading upon the poor," "robbing the widow," or making the product too small and the profit too great, the average citizens would snicker at his naivety and return to "business as usual." Nevertheless, such warnings are found in the Holy Bible; they apply to today, and people are doing precisely that — snickering at them. What if a modern prophet proclaimed that God was against those who "take a bribe," "ignore the orphan," "turn aside the stranger," "take increase," "withhold the pledge," "take away the wealth of the righteous," or "turn aside the poor in the gate from their right"? Those warnings are in the Bible!
The biblical prophets warned more about white-collar crimes than about all "crime in the street," "felonies," and F.B.I. "Index" crimes put together! And they knew what they were talking about — such crimes by the strong and rich against the poor and weak were more pervasive then, and are more costly today, than all the blatant, obvious crimes of passion. It is time for "good" people to reexamine their behavior in light of these prophetical warnings.
Crimes of Terror
Since 1967 the world has struggled through a series of highly visible international crimes of terror. The acts ranged from individual assassinations to organized political violence, but their underlying effect was mortal terror. The perpetrators were often dangerously psychopathic and the outcome was all-too-often mass murder.
In 1964, the armed truce between the street criminal and the police was broken by a disastrous riot in Harlem — in the northern half of Manhattan. The following year, the Watts riot began the grim pattern of arson, looting and sniping, which became an American way of life for five "long hot summers," the worst of which was 1968.
As the race riots reached their peak, political assassinations erupted with dangerous regularity. Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King were cut down within two months of each other in 1968. Capped by the demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August 1968, America was seemingly on its knees before terrorist criminals. Then there was a slight breathing spell. In 1969 riots moved from urban ghettos to college campuses. The school years between 1968 and 1970 were climaxed by the Kent State and Jackson State killings of May 1970. As an adjunct to these mass college riots, individual "hippie clans" either joined the student protests or perpetrated other crimes of insane terrorism.
Meanwhile, airborne terrorism reached its peak in 1969 with the now seemingly innocent "joyrides to Cuba." Since 1969, such hijackings have been fewer and less successful, but they have seriously increased in their danger, as individual psychopaths or fanatical political terrorists have used commercial airlines as platforms for their ideologies or their egos.
International terrorism reached its peak in 1972 with the murder of 25 innocent passengers at Lod Airport, Tel Aviv, and the tragic murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. Spurred by these "successes," fanatical terrorist groups have since kidnapped diplomats or held entire capital cities at ransom for the sake of international publicity and monetary gain. ...
As J. Edgar Hoover said just one year prior to his death, "As our society becomes more complex — industrial, urban, and interrelated — the greater will become the power of a fanatical minority — one, two, a mere handful — if it so desires, to disrupt, inconvenience, destroy and endanger the rights, lives and property of others."
One Man's Power Most terrorist acts are performed by loners — timid failures who are transformed into grandiose giants by the heady mixture of a gun and a group of terrorized hostages. Dr. David Abrahamsen has written many excellent volumes on the psychology of criminals. His Psychology of Crime (1960) and Our Violent Society (1970) probe the character disorders of singular terrorists, such as assassins, hijackers, and various sadistic psychopaths.
Of the assassin, Dr. Abrahamsen notes, "He was always a personal failure, an isolated human being, incapable of exhibiting genuine relationships." Such recent political assassins as Arthur Bremer, Lee Harvey Oswald, James Earl Ray, and Sirhan Sirhan exhibited such character disorders. The fanaticism of Arthur Bremer, for instance, can be noted by a brief perusal of his published diary, written just prior to his assassination attempt against George Wallace. "I thought about killing myself every day for months at a time," he wrote. Such potential suicide cases now have the power to take multiple other human beings with them, and make a "name" for themselves at the same time.
With hundreds of thousands of schizophrenics, paranoics, and other potential psychopaths loose in the world, there is no stopping future acts of terrorism. Dr. Abrahamsen concludes, "A real answer to the problem of violence we have today must come from within the family and the way we raise our children. There is no mass solution — not in our schools, our jails, or in environmental controls that condition men's minds."
Dr. David G. Hubbard, a Dallas psychiatrist who has studied some 50 hijackers, found that the majority had alcoholic fathers prone to violence, and protective mothers who were quite religious. The hijackers had failed in virtually every aspect of life. They were lonely, extremely shy, and had slow minds and personalities; often, hijackers were passive and effeminate. Skyjacking provided a last-ditch attempt to achieve success or masculinity after a miserable life.
Although already sick, hijackers were generally triggered into action by studying previous successful hijackings, then imitating them. Dr. Hubbard noted, "The way they did their crime, and even the urge to do it, was largely controlled by media inputs. It is perfectly obvious that the media have helped to keep this game going by making it exciting. Skyjackers are prone to idolization and imitation. They are like small boys acting out a play for which they have read the script." The public adulation of skyjackers, such as D. B. Cooper and Raffaele Minichiello, also encouraged future acts of skyjacking.
Individual crimes of terrorism cannot be stopped in this world's system, since the cause lies in the demented minds of individuals now walking the earth in anonymity. But such crimes will be stopped in the future, as chapter three will show. Before that day, though, individuals or small groups could trigger far more serious international conflicts by even greater and bolder acts of terrorism.
International crimes of terror have demonstrated that the curse of crime is not limited to national boundaries. While crimes across national boundaries pose a special problem to local police forces, most nations have their hands full trying to quell domestic disorders. This indigenous crime problem affects every nation, whether developed or undeveloped, whether Western democracy or Eastern communist, whether black, white, or yellow.
Britain's Crime Explosion In 1971, Great Britain's crimes of violence increased a whopping 14.5 percent, according to the Home Secretary. The leading "white-collar" crime, fraud, was up 12.9 percent, and shoplifting was up, in various areas, 25 to 40 percent over a four-year period.
As a whole, serious crimes in Britain totalled 1,646,000 in 1971, or quadruple the 1955 rate.
The London Times reported that "about 500 children may die every year from battering by their parents and about 11,000 may be at risk" (April 26, 1972). This tragic report, based on interviews with medical experts, belies the assumption that there is no murder problem in England. Apparently more children are murdered by parents than all other British homicides combined.
The Manchester Guardian (March 10, 1972) reported that "Britain is gambling more than ever before, and the number of compulsive gamblers has probably doubled to more than a million in the past ten years. The Churches' Council on Gambling says the commercial gambling turnover in Britain in 1970 amounted to almost £12,000 millions [about thirty BILLION dollars]."Crime in Europe In France, the Ministry of the Interior reported 82,787 burglaries in 1971, a figure that increases eight to ten percent each year! Jean-Claude Perier, Director of the National Gendarmery, noted that armed robberies tripled between 1966 and 1971, while thefts of automobiles and other motorized vehicles doubled in just one year (between 1970 and 1971)! The number of gendarmes killed or wounded in the line of duty rose 30 percent between 1966 and 1971.
In West Germany, per capita crime in 1971 was six times that of East Germany. One in nine crimes in West Germany was violent in nature, while only one in 22 crimes was violent in the East. One third of West German youths between 15 and 25 have used illegal drugs — ten percent were habitual users — while the problem was small in the East. Consequently, Willy Brandt's West German government multiplied the Bundeskriminalant (Office of the Federal Police) budget five times over between 1969 and 1973. Nevertheless, one German per thousand was living in prison, a comparatively high ratio.
This comparison between East and West Germany is not to whitewash Eastern Europe. Crime increase is not a phenomenon limited to Western democracy. Increases in crime were noted in Poland, the U.S.S.R., Czechoslovakia and Hungary in 1971, although few of these nations wished to publish the nature of their crime increases.
In East Germany, Dr. Peter Ludz, Professor of Sociology at the University Bielefeld, reported to Hon. Egon Franke, Minister of Inter-German Affairs, that "juvenile delinquency progresses at the same rate on both sides of the border [while] the proportion of crimes of a sexual order is higher in East Germany" (5.3% as opposed to 2.2%).
Crime Around the World In South Africa, the violent crime rate rose five percent in 1970. In the words of J. J. Labuschagne, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of South Africa: "There is a subculture of violence in each race group, and of course one problem has been the ease with which guns could be obtained."
Civil disorder is notorious in underdeveloped lands, although formal crime statistics are often not kept in such lands. The Philippines recently enacted martial law in an attempt to thwart individual crimes of violence and organized political insurgency. Revolutionary African and Southeast Asian nations regularly lead the INTERPOL statistics in murder and "total magnitude of civil strife." According to INTERPOL, Zaire (the Congo) leads the world in per capita murder.
Crime in Australia and New Zealand is on a lower level than in many other nations, but nevertheless the rate is seriously rising. (Readers particularly interested in crime "down under" may write to Ambassador College Press, Box 345, Sydney, NSW 2001, Australia, for an Australian version of this crime booklet.) Crime growth has averaged 15 percent increase yearly in Australia, topping 20 percent in 1968. There is now more than one serious crime yearly for each 100 Australians.
In Canada, the number of crimes doubled between 1962 and 1970, while narcotics offenses and violations of the Food and Drug Law multiplied almost twenty times over. According to the annual Statistique Canada, each Canadian region has its own personality of crime. The Yukon wilderness has a murder rate 15 times greater than the national average, while other areas of the wild north lead in sexual crimes, armed robbery, and inflicted wounds. Vancouver has the highest big city crime rate, but its leading crimes are the minor crimes against property and drug arrests. Meanwhile, Montreal has a low overall crime rate, but the leading crimes are the more serious crimes.
Unlike America, many large Canadian cities — especially in the central provinces — are quite safe to walk in at night. But the rioting and looting which followed the Montreal police strike of October 7, 1969 demonstrated the fact that Canadian cities are not peaceful by nature. They need the thin blue line of the police to restrain chaos.
But WHY this increasing crime problem the world over? Why the wholesale rebellion against society's laws? What's causing virtual anarchy in many urban enclaves around the world? The next chapter will explain the CAUSES of crime.
Chapter Two: The Causes of Crime
"Where do conflicts, where do wrangles come from, in your society? Is it not from these passions of yours that war among your members?" James 4:1, Moffatt
THERE are many causes of crime. Slums, poverty, and deprivation cause one kind of crime — the highly visible antisocial crimes of economic opportunity. A violent home environment and violent mass media contribute to another kind of crime — passionate crimes against the person. Mental illness, genetic makeup, and apparently even the phases of the moon have a small part in making certain criminals commit "senseless" crimes, but there is a human common denominator to all crime.
That common ingredient is the human heart which the Prophet Jeremiah labeled "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9).
The cause of crime is lack of character, not lack of money. When children are allowed to think like criminals, the result is quite obvious: they become criminals!
We can expect to see more riots and looting in the West--specifically in the United States and Europe.
The Ten Commandments of Crime Some years ago, the Houston Police Department published and distributed some rules for rearing delinquent children. Interested parents should note the following summary of ten of these surefire ways to make a criminal.
1) Begin in infancy to give your child everything he wants. In this way he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.
2) Never give him any religious or spiritual training. Wait until he is 21, then he can decide on the "church of his choice," if any.
3) Avoid use of inhibiting words like "wrong," "illegal" or "bad." It may develop a guilt complex. Instead, assure him that society is at fault.
4) Pick up everything he leaves around — toys, books, clothes. Do everything for him, so he will expect the world to support him later.
5) Let him read any printed matter he finds, or speak any words he hears. Sterilize the silverware, of course, but let his mind and mouth be "dirty."
6) Quarrel frequently in his presence. In this way he will see the breakup of a family and thus be more likely to break up his own later.
7) Give your child all the spending money he wants. Don't make him earn it. Why should he have things as rough as you did in the Depression?
8) Satisfy his every craving for food, drink and comfort. Denial may lead to inner frustration, so see that each desire is met immediately.
9) Take your child's part against neighbors, the police, teachers, friends, government, and the world. They're all picking on your dear child.
10) Prepare for a life of grief. You will be likely to suffer it.
Multiple millions of parents, especially in the post- World War II "baby boom," followed this regimen. The result was the "juvenile delinquency" wave of the 1950s, and the epidemic of street crime in the 1960s.
The late J. Edgar Hoover, America's leading crime fighter for half a century, said: "The teachings of God, if followed, will prevent criminality. The stabilizing force of religion is needed more today than ever before. A child who has been taught to respect the laws of God will have little difficulty respecting the laws of men."
The Ten Commandments of Love Religion by itself carries no guarantee of producing law-abiding children. Men have invented quite a few false religions, and the early and oppressive enforcement of any false religion can often turn a child toward deviant behavior. But the law of God, as distinct from the ideas of men, is the greatest tool available for the teaching of right and holy character to potentially law-abiding, intelligent, happy and productive members of society. It is this eternal spiritual law — expressed most completely in the Ten Commandments — that can make children into law-abiding citizens, just as surely as the ten rules for rearing a delinquent produce the opposite effect.
The Ten Commandments, as recorded in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, may actually be summed up in one word: LOVE. The first five commandments describe the perfect law of love toward God and one's parents, while the second five describe perfect love toward one's fellowman, or neighbor.
Crime, by definition, is the victimizing of one's neighbor. Crime, then, is biblically summarized as the breaking of the latter five of the Ten Commandments. While there are a few laws of man that attempt to enforce the first five laws (the so-called "Blue Laws"), there are literally thousands of man-made laws against different forms of murder, adultery, stealing, lying and even coveting (conspiracy, assault, extortion, etc.) another's property.
Although minor ordinances (such as driving on the left or right side of the street) are necessary in any society, the basis for all criminal law is found in those final five commandments of God, codified and proclaimed to man nearly 3500 years ago, and in force and effect since the creation of man nearly 6000 years ago.
"... Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole man" (Ecclessiastes 12:13), wrote Solomon. A criminal, then, is an incomplete man.
The Making of a Criminal The ten rules for making a juvenile delinquent listed above represent a somewhat humorous and informal approach toward the cause of crime, but scholastic credence was given to these principles after an exhaustive study by Drs. Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck, a husband-wife sociologist team at Harvard Law School. After examining a large group of six-year-old boys in New York City, they predicted — based solely on family stability, affection, discipline, and family cohesiveness — which boys would be delinquent by age 16 and which would be "normal."
Ten years later they found that 85 percent of those they predicted to become delinquent actually did so, while only three percent of those in the control group became delinquent. The Gluecks summarized their findings in an interview with U.S. News and World Report:
"In large measure it is the affection and discipline the child gets in the home that shapes his attitudes and ideals as child and adult. Discipline is always needed. Fifty years ago, much more than now, there was discipline. Children knew the limits on their behavior. They lived in smaller neighborhoods where they were under the eye of parents and neighbors — and what neighbors thought was important. Religion, too, seemed to have a greater influence on personal behavior.
"Also, the home setting itself encouraged parental control. Children were taught by example that each had his or her work to do without question: The father worked out in the field, the mother cleaned the house and cooked the family's food, and the children carried in the wood and helped out. Today, in our urban centers the situation is totally different. There are all kinds of distractions for children. Mothers either are working outside the home or preoccupied with all the problems of day-to-day running of the home. Fathers, too, spend more time away from home."
The Gluecks are no longer unique in drawing these conclusions. Many experts from all fields of study are coming to realize the value of discipline. Child psychologists have, as a whole, outgrown the permissiveness of the 1950s, often associated with Dr. Benjamin Spock. Criminologists and sociologists are likewise evolving a body of evidence regarding the value of family cohesiveness, and the value of balance between affection and discipline. Police officials, of course, have always seen the value of parental control from their practical point of view: preventing crime.
Perhaps the largest body of interdisciplinary experts ever assembled to study crime was the President's Crime Commission, commissioned by the late U. S. President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. The Commission concluded (in 1968):
"What appears to be happening throughout the country, in the cities and in the suburbs, among the poor and among the well-to-do, is that parental, and especially paternal, authority over young people is becoming weaker. The community is accustomed to rely on this force as one guarantee that children will learn to fit themselves into society in an orderly and peaceable manner.... every effort must be taken to strengthen the family, now often shattered by the grinding pressure of urban slums."
As the Gluecks noted, poverty is a "cause" of crime only insomuch as poverty disrupts a stable family life. "But poverty, by itself, doesn't make a delinquent," they added.
The relative absence of street crime in poorer nations is indication enough that poverty in the U. S. is not the primary reason why poor Americans steal more than their poor counterparts in the underdeveloped nations. Religion, tradition, and discipline play a greater part in the family life of those poor people living outside the U. S.
Another reminder that poverty is not the main cause of crime is found in the extent of crime among the rich. A comprehensive survey showed that every one of 70 top corporations in the U. S. has been guilty of breaking the law of the land, the average being 14 violations per company, with 98 percent of those corporations guilty of at least four convictions within a 50-year period. Over 90 percent of average Americans, as proven by many studies in all areas of the United States, readily admit they are guilty of at least one crime which would land them at least a year in jail.
Therefore, don't let the word crime become a kneejerk code word for "crime in the street," or a racist reaction to Negro inner-city ghetto crime. Crime can be found in any strata of any society.
Human Nature Is Violent The American fear of becoming a victim of crime in the streets is seemingly exceeded only by the American's love of violence in the movies and other mass media. The flippant remark of a riot leader in 1967 has become a national truism: "Violence is as American as apple pie." A more ecumenical wording could be, "Violence is as universal as human nature." Human nature is violent in ALL nations. And also guiding and influencing that nature is the invisible influence of Satan.
He is revealed in the Bible as "the god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), who has deceived the whole world — all nations (Revelation 12:9). He is revealed as "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2).
Controversy rages among psychologists and sociologists as to whether man's innate violence is environmental or genetic. Physiological research indicates that certain areas deep within man's brain are centers of aggression. Meanwhile, sociologists demonstrate how violence is learned in the home, on the street, in the media, and elsewhere by example.
These two theories need not engender controversy. Both theories are supported by ample evidence, and in all likelihood both are correct. On the one hand, man is born with a potential toward evil. Of course, a child is not inherently evil from birth. But the seeds of rebellion are present in his psychological and physical construction. "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies" (Psalm 58:3). On the other hand, this potential for evil can either be amplified or controlled by the child's early environment. "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far front him." (Proverbs 22:15).
But the solution to man's ills is for man to dominate his nature, to sublimate it, and control it by the agency of a higher power, the Holy Spirit of God. "For the creature [man] was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope" (Romans 8:20). Earlier in this "Holy Spirit chapter," the Apostle Paul made clear exactly what is wrong with unbridled human nature. "The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (verse 7); but it is "through the Spirit [we] do mortify the deeds of the body" (verse 13).
Remember that Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Eichmann and other World War II "international gangsters" were darling babies at one time. Could any of their parents, or the parents of thousands of criminals today, be convinced that their cooing, grinning, gurgling little children would one day murder, extort, steal, embezzle, tape, or vandalize the world?
Spirit of Crime Prophesied The Apostle Paul was inspired to look beyond his time, down to ours. He portrayed the hostile, venomous side of human nature when he said: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents... fierce, despisers of those that are good" (2 Timothy 3:1-3).
Speaking of these same hate-filled "latter days," Jesus Christ said:
"All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you:. and you shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another" (Matthew 24:8-10).
The Prophet Ezekiel foretold that "the land is full of bloody crimes, and the city full of violence" (Ezekiel 7:23). A little later he went on to say that the "land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not" (Ezekiel 9:9). How true — usually this attitude of godless immorality precedes the actual performance of criminal acts. Criminals must at least hope that "God is dead," and therefore He will not see and punish their crimes.
In Romans 1, the Apostle Paul wrote a complete explanation of that process by which a criminal mind first rejects God's authority, then His creation, and then feels "free" to commit every form of immorality.
Notice Paul's conclusion:
"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" (Romans 1:28-32).
Every one of the above evils listed by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1 — as well as Romans 3, II Timothy 3, and other places — is based on the breaking of one or more of the Ten Commandments! It is a lengthy list describing human nature in the raw — unshackled, uncontrolled, unchanged by God's Holy Spirit.
This nature is present in everyone! Paul wrote,
"... I know that in me dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:18).
Jesus Christ said,
"I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30).
And the brother of Jesus, the Apostle James, wrote:
"The spirit that dwelleth in us [Christians] lusteth to envy" (James 4:5).
Christ even called His disciples "evil" (Luke 11:13).
Speaking about all mankind, Jesus said:
"Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies" (Matthew 15:19).
Notice again, this is a catalog of the Ten Commandments — against coveting (#10), murder (#6), adultery and fornication (#7), theft (#8), false witness (#9), and blasphemies (#3). Jesus Christ upheld His Father's Law!
Are You a Criminal? What about your heart and mind? Do you "fly off the handle" easily? Do you dogmatically and often violently support your biased racial, religious, and political attitudes? Do you come to the brink of violence over personal passionate problems?
Don't feel alone — millions do. Human violence is as sure as a scientific formula: take human nature, add some past prejudices, stir in current tensions, then add a spark of a controversial comment or offensive action and you have violence, crime, or a shouting match.
Do you snap at your children, argue with your boss, put down your neighbor? Do you ridicule what you don't understand, even to the point of persecuting those "dogooders" who make you feel uncomfortable by their good example? Probably not, you may think -l but think again! Peter thought he would never deny Christ, but he did so three times! The mobs who loved Christ one week spit on Him and yelled "Crucify Him!" the following week. Human nature is capricious and unpredictable.
You may decry crime in the street, but do you also decry your own criminal nature? For instance, do you own a gun to protect yourself from criminals? If so, then you are prepared for the "situation ethics" of becoming a murderer — a far worse crime than burglary. If you own a killer dog for protection, you may be using a dog to kill instead of a gun. If you occasionally shoplift, pad an expense account, write off too much income tax, or steal time and materials from your employer, you are just as much a burglar as the mugger you fear. It's only a matter of style and degree of stealing.
The hardest thing for a human being to do is to admit he has an evil tendency, and then repent toward God with the desire to overcome that downward pull. Criminals in prisons may serve their time and return to society, but few want to change what they are. Likewise, the "successful" criminals of the middle class and high society enjoy what they "are," They are "good," "righteous," "decent," "normal" — a "leading citizen." Should they be told they're merely "successful criminals," they would be highly offended, embarrassed, and even angry. One may even sue you for slandering his "good name."
Yet whose "name" is clean? The Apostle Paul answers: "There is none righteous, no, not one.... For all have sinned" (Romans 3:10, 23).
In other words, all people are criminals in that sense. The first inspired sermon of the New Testament Church was delivered by the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost, 31 A.D. In it, he convicted his hearers of complicity in the murder of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:14-36). Notice their reaction to this accusation of criminal negligence. They didn't excuse themselves, become offended, or defend their "good name." Rather, "When they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37.) Peter's answer to that question is the answer to the crime problem facing mankind today. It is the CURE for crime you'll read of in the next chapter.
Chapter Three: The Cure For Crime
"I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts." Jeremiah 31:33
WHEN thousands of men and women from a smorgasbord of Middle Eastern nations gathered before the Apostle Peter in June 31 A.D. to hear the first recorded sermon of the New Testament Christian Church, they were moved to ask, "What shall we do?" They were referring to a "crime" they had committed: complicity in the murder of Jesus Christ.
"What Shall We Do?" Peter's answer was straightforward:"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (verse 41).
These thousands were the first members of the true Christian Church. Interestingly enough, four years earlier John the Baptist faced the same situation that met the Apostle Peter.
"Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?" (Luke 3:12.)
Notice how practical his answer is toward providing a solution for crime, both violent "street crime" and "white-collar crime." He said:
"Exact no more than that which is appointed you."
And (to a group of soldiers) he added:
"Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages" (Luke 3:13-14).
A man content with wages will not steal, a nonviolent man will never hurt another, and one who refrains from false accusations and tampering with taxes will neither lie nor steal. The law is written in his heart and mind, so that he will obey in secret.
"Internalization" of the Law
The advice of Peter and John the Baptist may be a fine "solution" for individuals who repent from the heart, but what about the vast majority of "hard-core" criminals, incorrigible and unrepentant? It is fine to talk of self-control, self-concept, life goals, obedience to laws, tolerance of frustration, sense of responsibility, ability to resist temptation, willingness to defer gratification of desires, and a strong admiration of authority symbols if the person has a background conducive to such concepts or if he is supernaturally called to see life from God's point of view in the Bible.
But what about "practical" solutions to crime, applicable to any and all societies and their various criminal elements? Is penance (in a penitentiary) a viable compromise with true repentance? Is stricter law enforcement more practical than "writing the laws in one's heart and mind"? Is capital punishment more workable than divine forgiveness? Is it not wiser to guard your home with guns, locks, and burglar alarms than to trust in God to protect you?
While these "practical" solutions are not ultimately better, it is true that they are more realistic at this time in a nation cut off from God. But it is not the ideal way. "This ideal solution to crime (internalization of obedient attitudes), however, will be God's way in the future government on earth which He promised to bring (Isaiah 11).
Sociologists agree. "Internalization is by far the most effective means of social control of deviant behavior.... Once a social rule has been successfully internalized, the individual continues to observe it even when no one is watching to see that he does" (Popenoe, Sociology, p. 486). With internalization of norms, a person may occasionally "bend" the law, but feelings of guilt and remorse cause him to repent of it and avoid such behavior in the future. His conscience is his guide!
The vast majority of people do not have a sufficiently well-developed conscience, even though they may obey laws in most situations. If everyone on earth were motivated to internalize God's law, there would be no more serious crime!
Standards of Conduct A man who has God's law "written in his heart and mind" is a man who deeply meditates about that law and its application to his life. A man with the law in his heart will worship one God, avoid idolatry, honor God's name, keep His Sabbath, and honor his human parents. This is the man that obeys the first great law of love:"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deuteronomy 6:5).
After loving God first, this man works on the second great law of love: honoring his fellow man as himself. He will neither kill nor hate; he won't cast eyes or lay hands on another man's wife; he won't steal objects, services, or time; he won't lie or alter the truth; he won't even entertain thoughts of taking what doesn't belong to him.
These two major standards of conduct can be expanded to cover nearly every life situation facing modern man. As a tool for meditation on these principles, read our... article...expounding these Ten Commandments... will explain ... how to avoid becoming a criminal before God or man.Learning these commandments in our hearts and minds is the first step toward curing crime. There will always be crime until this step is taken, but there are other ways in which crime can be partially cured. Some solutions treat the cause of crime, and others merely treat the effects. Both are necessary, of course, but in the long run treating the cause is the only complete solution for any problem.
It is too late to rehabilitate all adults. The seeds of crime have already been sown in them. If, however, all children can be reared to respect God's law and man's ordinances, obedience can be internalized into future generations. Therefore, proper child rearing represents the second step toward curing crime...
Criminals are Made at HOME! If your first duty is to prevent crime in yourself, a second and equally important duty is to prevent criminality from developing in your young children. The very first form of government with which the child comes in contact is government within the home. If there is no authority, no law, no government in the home, how can parents expect their children to respect the authority, law, and government in society outside the home?
To a tiny, squirming infant, his parents reign supremely as "god" and king. They constitute his life, food, protection, law, and love. If that child cannot have "law and order" in the home, he becomes confused, frustrated, and eventually destructive. Without laws for his protection, he also may end up dead as the result of a tragic accident.
Speaking before a Special Senate Committee investigating crime, the late J. Edgar Hoover offered his expert analysis of the role of early family training in preventing crime:
"The place to start is the family circle. American families are developing the personalities who will determine what type of society our nation will have tomorrow.
"The home is the first great training school in behavior or misbehavior and parents serve as the first teachers for the inspirational education of youth. In the home, the child learns that others beside himself have rights which he must respect. Here the spadework is laid for instilling in the child those values which will cause him to develop into an upright, law-abiding, wholesome citizen. He must learn respect for others, respect for property, courtesy, truthfulness, and reliability. He must learn not only to manage his own affairs but also share in the responsibility for the affairs of the community. He must be taught to understand the necessity of obeying the laws of God.
"These qualities, of course, are transmitted to the child only if they are exemplified and taught within the family circle. By way of contrast, homes broken by death, desertion, divorce, separation, neglect, or immorality stamp their imprint on the developing personality. The products of these homes, unguided and unsupervised children who seldom receive needed love and attention, develop distorted attitudes and may easily engage in antisocial behavior. These products of adult negligence have become easy recruits in an already vast army of youthful offenders."
How Your Child Learns The human child is the most helpless, defenseless, and ignorant of all newborn creatures. The young colt and calf are able to walk minutes after birth; porpoises and whales can swim immediately, and even learn tricks from human masters during their first year. All lower life forms are equipped with instinct which is a pre-programmed pattern of behavior. The human child has no such instinct, but rather is equipped with the most fantastic instrument of creation, the human mind.
At birth, you, your child, and I knew absolutely nothing. Our mind was an empty book, yet to be written by our surrounding environment. The infant is so helpless that he would starve without a parent's immediate loving aid.
The child begins to learn from its first moment after birth. Its first knowledge comes from feelings (rather than facts) taught by association (rather than words). These associations begin to formulate concepts which then govern habits. For instance, a very young infant will soon learn that the feeling, the smell, the taste, the sound, and the limited "sight" of mother means that milk is on the way. Within a week of birth, the child may stop crying from hunger merely when picked up.
The child's first year is more important than any other. He will process more information that year than any following year. Of course, he does not know one statistic, one word, one person's name (other than the somewhat accidental "da-da" sound), or one tidbit of world news, but his "information" is in the most valuable "code" ever devised:
"Mother and daddy love me, they feed me when hungry, change me, and praise my good behavior." Later this code of feeling is expanded to include a brief jab of pain when baby disregards the word "no."
One of the major ways a child "associates" habits is by mimicking adult models. Since the only powerful outside influence in a child's life is his parents, he will imitate parents, for good or evil. This method of learning is so powerful, so intense, that it follows us all through our lives.
Imitating Criminal Behavior The child's first exposure to criminal behavior is usually in the home. Some parents may break laws in full view of their children, but usually such criminal behavior is seen (and imitated) vicariously. For instance, the parents may show a general disrespect for policemen, government, and law. Combined with viewing a steady diet of simulated criminal activity on television, in movies, and in neighborhood play, the child also learns to disrespect law and mimic criminal behavior.
This combination of powerful vicarious violence and parental disrespect for law creates a firm association in the child's pliable mind. He associates law and authority with evil (the "pigs," "fuzz," or the "dirty politics" of city government). He associates criminal behavior with excitement, fun, friends, and money. If lawbreakers are his neighborhood heroes (such as often happens in inner-city slums), this association becomes so powerful as to be practically permanent.
Whether or not a child becomes an actual juvenile delinquent or prosecuted criminal, a great majority of "normal" children have a disrespect for law, government, and constituted authority. These same "normal" children grow up to break "lesser laws" such as traffic ordinances, corporate laws, I.R.S. regulations (income tax), personal and sexual codes, and other "victimless" or "white-collar" crimes.
The cure for crime of this origin is to remove violent and illegal behavior from before children's eyes. Much of children's fare on television is far too violent, including cartoons and other "kiddie" shows. Many motion pictures, including some rated "G," are far too violent and lawless in nature. A child will naturally be exposed to a certain amount of media, so take your part as a parent to choose good adventure books, instructional and entertaining television, and inspiring movies to fill their minds with good examples.
Your direct responsibility as a parent is to reinforce your child's good behavior with love, praise, and occasional gifts, while discouraging any criminal behavior by thorough teaching, by offering better alternatives, and by corrective discipline when necessary. The most important contribution by a parent, however, is a good example.
Home Atmosphere The layer of air over most large cities is heavily polluted, but there is another kind of atmospheric pollution hanging over most homes which does even greater harm: an emotionally polluted home environment. Most criminals come from emotionally unhealthy homes.
Many homes are broken physically by desertion or divorce, but many more are broken psychologically by lack of love and lack of communication.
Not all youngsters who come from broken and unhealthy home environments become criminals. Nevertheless, even those who don't are psychologically scarred. They pass through traumatic stages of emotional tension and neurotic behavior as a result of earlier instability at home.
Child psychiatrist Joseph D. Noshpitz, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington, D. C., has commented:
"Children learn their morality and ethics by taking in the model that the parents set for them. The very little ones learn by imitation.... they suck up behavior like vacuum cleaners, taking in the dross with the gold, the parental problems side by side with their virtues... it's not just what we tell them to believe that gets built in; it's the total experience of mom and dad."
It is a rare thing, for example, to find a child who has been consistently lied to over the years of his childhood who does not lie himself as an adult.
The solution to youth crime is not to lock up more young people, spend more money on courts, prison, and police, or electronically monitor ("bug") everything of value. Such answers deal rather poorly with the effects, while proper child rearing treats the ultimate cause of crime. Not all parents will heed this warning, however, so we must also go on to treat the effects of crime.
Protect Yourself Against Crime Despite the fact that some criminals are being rehabilitated, some dope addicts are being cured, and some potential criminals are being thwarted by concerned parents and guardians, it is a safe bet that in the United States this year over two million homes and businesses will be burglarized, over a million cars will be stolen, a third of a million people will be "mugged" or otherwise assaulted, a like number will be robbed, 40,000 women will report a rape (100,000 will be raped and not report it), and 20,000 will be brutally murdered!
It is also a safe bet that over 40 billion dollars of income will not be declared on income taxes, and a like amount will be spent in an attempt to prevent crime, or paying for crime that could not be prevented. Therefore, it behooves a sound-minded citizen of the U. S. or any other crime-ridden nation to take steps to avoid becoming a victim of crime by others.
While it is true that you "can't stop a professional thief without sophisticated equipment, you can do much to discourage the amateur criminal. This is obvious by a cursory examination of police crime blotters: the largest single category of larcenies is among unlocked bicycles; forty percent of reported thefts of goods are from unlocked automobiles; forty percent of stolen autos have the key in the ignition switch; twenty percent of all home burglaries resulted from an unlocked door or window. These are crimes of opportunity.
One of the largest mental blocks aiding the criminal is the common conception of the "cat prowler." The plain facts are that most crimes against property are committed by local teen-agers! The crimes committed by adults are often done under false pretense of refinement, reputation, or professional service. In either case, the victim is presented with an unsuspected enemy. Many burglaries are committed by the "kid down the street" who is familiar with your home and neighborhood, while con games are perpetrated by a professional-appearing man with fake credentials and much knowledge of your neighborhood.
Speaking of neighborhood crime, your chances of being a victim of a violent crime is one in 10,000 in rich areas, one in 2,000 in middle class suburbs and one in 77 in the inner cities! Poor people are crime's most consistent victim.
Know Your Enemy — and Your Friend The first step toward preventing a neighborhood criminal from victimizing you is to cultivate a healthy respect, not fear, for the police. The police departments in most modern nations are neither Gestapo, corrupt, nor abusive. Most of their time is spent helping the public to obey laws, rather than apprehending the criminals who disobey them. Most of their time is spent patrolling, directing traffic, making accident reports, checking complaints, and even working with youth groups and community projects. Get to know your local police, and teach your children a healthy respect and trust for them.
A second ally in your fight against crime is your next-door neighbor. The average person doesn't know much about his neighbor, or perhaps doesn't trust him. Perhaps the feeling is mutual. But take time to know at least the neighbors on either side of you so that in case of a criminal act upon your property, you have immediate help. Likewise, you can offer help or call the police if your neighbor is in trouble. When leaving town for a few days, it pays to have a trusted neighbor keeping an eye on your property, just in case. Discuss joint cooperation against crime, but learn the fine line between helping and meddling.
A third group of allies is composed of the parents of your children's friends, the babysitters you choose, and your business associates. Without careful selectiveness, however, this group can become sprinkled with potential enemies. Be careful to select baby-sitters of highest character and ability. Also beware of letting your children play or stay overnight at an unknown home. As distasteful as this may sound, a high percentage of child molestations and furtive sexual experimentation is instigated by friends, relatives, and friends' relatives.
Be sure to know the character of the employees you work with. Petty embezzlement within an organization is usually more costly than shoplifting or cheating by outsiders. This does not mean you need to suspect everyone you meet, or cross-examine baby-sitters and employees, but you must either be able to discern character, or else take costly precautions to safeguard your possessions by other means.
Commonsense Rules A complete book of precautions against crime may be obtained at your local police department or a local bookstore for a nominal price. The purpose of this booklet is not to be an encyclopedia of home security. However, there are a few commonsense rules you may want to put into practice before you step out of your home to buy such a book.
• Don't keep valuables (large sums of money, expensive jewelry) accessible at home. Rent a safe-deposit box. Many thieves go directly for color TVs, tape recorders, and other compact electronic equipment, so keep these either locked, hidden, tied down, built in, or insured!
• Purchase and use strong locks. Use pin-tumbler locks, accompanied by dead-bolt locks, for all outside doors. All windows should lock too, no matter how high (criminals often use a ladder from your own garage). Make a safety check each night before retiring.
• Many professional burglars only strike while the occupants are away on an extended vacation. Be sure to alert your neighbor, delivery services, and the police (but nobody else) so that they can keep an eye out for "visitors" to your home. Besides locking your home firmly, remove all valuables to safe storage.
• To prevent auto theft, lock your car door, wing windows, and ignition if possible. Even if your car is locked, keep valuables out of sight or locked in the glove compartment. While driving, beware of hitchhikers, muggers at a stop signal, or a phony call for assistance by the roadside. These are often plays for armed robbery (or worse).
• Sexual assaults are usually unpredictable, but for young single women the following precautions help: don't walk alone at night; only use your first initial in phone listings; don't admit strangers into your house; leave all windows covered at night; don't flirt with strangers; and scream if attacked!
• Don't buy a gun. Many such guns bought "for protection" are used accidentally or in a fit of passion against a family member. Most people don't know how to use a gun effectively. Even if they did, murder or manslaughter is a more serious crime than being victimized by Peeping Toms or burglars. Also, these guns, stolen from those who keep them for protection, comprise a major source of supply for criminals.
A Nation's Choice This is not just a booklet of "helpful hints" to be read casually and tossed aside. Although the advice on the preceding few pages is useful to those who wish to protect themselves, that is a secondary message of this booklet. The central message of the booklet, and the Bible itself, is that the broad majority of mankind need to love God and their neighbor as they love themselves!
Crime is not a disease, it is a collection of inordinate, illegal, harmful, and violent acts perpetrated by human beings against their fellowman. To conquer crime, the members of modern nations must first admit that there is all too much of the "criminal element" in every one of us.
It's time for normally law-abiding citizens to admit they are open to crimes of opportunity. The laws of God or man are not written on very many hearts and minds today!
As a result, our very society is at stake.
Obviously, what is needed is a whole change of heart, a change in basic attitude toward God, country, and neighbor. How many more mass murderers, demented rapists, and hard-core criminals will be produced before the nation is shocked into the awareness of the necessity for human reform?
There are only two basic ways of life. One is toward giving, serving, loving, and helping — a way of outgoing concern toward others. The other way is criminal mentality — a way of grabbing, robbing, hating, lying, and taking. Many people in between live like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a combination of giving and getting. What kind of life do you live?
You, personally, can make a start toward achieving that law-abiding way of life which honors and serves others.
Are the Ten Commandments Obsolete? Are the Ten Commandments really relevant to a crime-conscious 20th/21st century? Times have changed since God gave His law to the nation of Israel. Man has spanned the Iron Age to the Space Age.
But humanity hasn't changed. Humankind remains actuated by the evils of human nature. Modern man is as much motivated by vanity. jealousy, lust and greed as his ancient counterparts.
The solution to human problems — summed up in ten perfect points — has always been the same. lf humankind kept just one of these ten points, then criminal behavior patterns, plaguing a complex sophisticated 20th/21st century, would significantly diminish.
See how all ten apply to today's world problems. See how obedience to all ten would solve your personal problems.
How Will Crime be Stopped?
Some people feel that they have a right to commit crimes.
No, they do not.
As one person once put it, your right to extend your fist stops with my nose.
Why will most crime stop? Because of the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom of God:
15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Revelation 11:15)
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)
The law will go forth out of Zion. People will keep the law and no longer need to live in fear of crime:
2 Many nations shall come and say,
"Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths."
For out of Zion the law shall go forth,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 He shall judge between many peoples,
And rebuke strong nations afar off;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
4 But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree,
And no one shall make them afraid;
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken. (Micah 4:2-4)
It is because humanity embraced sin, as first proposed by Satan the devil (Genesis 3:1-14), that sin prevailed and crime ensued (e.g. Genesis 4:8). Notice that Satan is called the serpent of old who deceives:
9 ... that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)
Satan has been deceiving humans since the Garden of Eden. But he will be bound for a thousand years:
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. (Revelation 20:1-3)
Humans, not being tempted by Satan, and while learning the law of God, while being under the governance of Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God will eliminate nearly all crime. More on the millennium can be found in the article Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?; a related sermon is titled The Millennium..While people still will have the same bodies, no longer being subject to Satanic deception, while they are also striving to keep the law of God, will result in a massive reduction of crime. Furthermore, to reduce problems further, God has a plan to have 'teachers' assist those who start to go the wrong way:
19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem;
You shall weep no more.
He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry;
When He hears it, He will answer you.
20 And though the Lord gives you
The bread of adversity and the water of affliction,
Yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore,
But your eyes shall see your teachers.
21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
"This is the way, walk in it,"
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:19-21)
Crime can be stopped--and it will be.
Following God's ways would eliminate crime in this age. And God will free humanity from the curses of crime in the millennial age to come.