Poverty = Danger

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by alc112, Oct 14, 2005.


Is poverty a synonym of danger?

  1. Poverty = Danger

    7 vote(s)
  2. Poverty ≠ Danger

    12 vote(s)
  1. alc112

    alc112 Senior Member

    Concordia, Entre Ríos
    Argentina Spanish
    hi!! How are you?
    I want to discuss this, since in this thread I was asked (not exactly)why I said that the park is dangerours beacuase poor people live near. this is my answer

    This is a very very common thing here.
    Here in Argentina, we asociate poor people with thieves. As they don't have a job , don't care about trying to get one or don't want to work, they steel or even obligue their children to do it!!
    What do you think about this?
    Is more or less the same thing in your country?
  2. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    For all of those interested in the "Culture of Poverty" theory, you can read more here. I'm not saying that I agree or disagree with it, but it certainly presents the bahavior of those in poverty in a different light. Enjoy!
  3. VenusEnvy

    VenusEnvy Senior Member

    Maryland, USA
    English, United States
    I don't really know what to say regarding this issue. I think that poor people are perhaps the MOST discriminated against group, simply because so few of us understand their situations or why they are there. I don't know crime statistics for poor people, but I think I remember hearing that were significantly higher than their more affluent counterparts. Why that is? I don't know.

    Nonetheless, being poor comes with a huge stigma. They are stupid, dirty, immoral, ruthless, inbred, drug abusers who will do anything for a buck, right? I have to say that I feel uneasy in areas of poverty because they do, in fact, have higher crime rates, and this does scare me.

    In the US, at least, poverty does not exist in a vacuum. Poverty rates correlate with educational level, property taxes, crime rates, certain racial groups, etc. It seems that to look at poverty in isolation in the US proves a complex issue. To conclude simply that poverty=danger is over-simplfying the issue.... Hence, I didn't answer the poll. I'll wait for what other interesting opinions may come. :)
  4. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo Mod, I say, Moderator

    American English
    I think this is true in the United States, too. However, not all poor people are thieves, and not all thieves are poor.

    I am afraid to walk down a dark street in New York or Mexico City at night -- not because there are poor people there, but because I have a high chance of being robbed. I am also afraid to park my car near my office in an industrial zone of Phoenix -- because more cars are stolen in this area than in any other place in the U.S.! If there are any poor people who live in this area, I've never seen them.

    I have the impression that crime is higher in areas where there are high numbers of poor people, which makes sense -- many people might steal because they have little money and few options. But the reason that I'm afraid to walk through NYC, the DF or Villas Miseria at night is not because I'm afraid of poor people, but because I'm afraid of crime.
  5. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil

    "Is more or less the same thing in your country?"

    I could understand you perfectly, that you meant a cultural situation in
    your country, because , you know, it's the same situation in our country.
    Actually besides all of our huge population living under the poverty line
    we are now receiving our neighbors (South American) to add to this
    situation. A couple of years ago (more or less) there were many
    Argentinians in the street side by side with our miserable (like in the French meaning of the word) street population. In here, as poverty increases, violence,favelas, robbery, murders, danger increase everywhere. In big cities like mine, people are moving (whenever they can) from the neighborhood where favelas begin to increase to neighborhoods far from the misery strip. And everybody knows what is it like living in Rio de Janeiro favelas with the outlaws and police shooting at each other and at innocent people passing by. In the rich suburb close to these favelas people are always afraid because of the lost bullets that have made a lot of victims, hitting people inside their own houses.
    I understand you didn't mean they are dangerous because they are
    poor as a synomym.
    Also, I think it's difficult for people that haven't faced our situation (I mean haven't been around to see it) can't imagine how is it like living among and with these facts . (Just a comment trying to explain why they might not understand what you really meant).

  6. Lucyernaga Junior Member

    Panama, Spanish
    Dear people,
    I see you are refering to poverty only as urban poverty, because you don't find those scary scenarios in the countryside (I guess). Poor people in countryside are definitively not dangerous. Indeed, they are in general, kind, intelligent, sharing, peaceful, and higienic people, as far as I know.

    ¿Am I Alice in wonderland?

    Not by any means. I also recognize there is too much ignorance, but these poor people in countryside have other rules, still very human ones. Contrary to them, urban poor people are in a very different situation, as you describe.

    Unfortunately, our socities are forcing countryside people to become urban poor people and the result will be really scary.
  7. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    There have been many interesting answers posted so far.

    Venus wrote:

    That's certainly true, but to deny the correlation between poverty and crime, and discuss the sociology, psychology, and all the other causes and effects of poverty is over-complicating the answer.

    Vanda, Pollo and others have noted the correlation, as has Venus.

    Whatever else one may have to say about poverty, at very least urban poverty, it is often associated with higher than average levels of crime, including violent crime. Please note, I did not say a single word about causality. That's the stuff of many large books, written and yet to be written.

    In most cities I've been in throughout the world, where one finds poverty one also finds high crime rates.

    Lucyernaga makes a very insightful distinction. Rural poverty is not usually associated with high crime rates. I've found that to be the case in Africa, Europe, and throughout the countries I've lived in or visited in the Americas.

    So, to ALC's original question....in urban settings, danger from crime and poverty go together.

    un saludo,
  8. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    This is the point Lucyernaga, the whole story began because he was describing a situation in Concordia (I think) an urban scenario, and used the expression referring to a specific place inhabited by poor people in the city.
    If you read the thread he mentioned above, you'll have the picture of the situation.
    It's true, the situation changes when you mention poor people from the
    countryside. They are as you have said very human ones. Well,at least,
    in my side of the world this is true, too.
  9. Lucyernaga Junior Member

    Panama, Spanish
    Perhaps "Violence" works more comfortably among poverty and that is really the fear of those who think twice before walking down in a poor people street. In my country, sociologists have said nationwide that only four to fifteen people can control a whole neighborhood. Then, the rest of the 200 or 600 people left are just afraid (the difference is that they can not choose to walk or not in there).

    I meant with those words to poin out that being poor is not "equal" to being dangerous, as the subject line seems to say. Then someone said there is a correlation, but then again a more direct correlation is the one of the drog abuse and violence.

    Those large books and their writers are specific on this, I guess, I hope. Complicating the answer? I read the ALC112 comments and questions, and I can undestand his/her concern about certain environments, but let me tell you drug dealers, gang masters and gambling mafia in those places get more money by month than a Minister in my country.

    Poverty? That's not the problem.
  10. Beautiful Princess

    Beautiful Princess Junior Member

    Cavite City, Philippines
    Yes, I agree... and also being poor, usually doesn't have food to eat, no house to live in, no medicine just in case they got sick... dangerous for them in that sense as well, making them vulnerable to risk their welfare enough to enter in those "dangerous" thing such as stealing... to survive..
  11. rob.returns

    rob.returns Senior Member

    Philippines-English, tagalog, spanish, chavacano, tausog, visaya, ilonggo.
    I believe poverty would be a big factor, it serves as a starter for crime and bigger crmes.

    But I believe one thing would be more of a bigger factor why crime continues, Its HUMAN CONTENTMENT. Never forget that human contentment is insatiable, thats why even rich people violate the number 8 commandment: THou Shalt no Steal. A lot of us thinks that being happy is having a lot of money. Blinded by the ideals of this world. I am sometimes guilty of this. And I think every body is. We ought to control ourselves and not give in.

    Regarding about your Q alc112, yes we do have it here, parents happy when their children does the stealing for themselves. They always say they don't have a choice. IN contrast, I don't believe so.
  12. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    Hi Rob,

    Most of your answer, while interesting, does not address the question in the first post in the thread. Please try to stay on topic.

  13. asm Senior Member

    New England, USA
    Mexico, Spanish
    Try also this link:


    I will try to post a different comment later, however, I do not want to leave this one without saying that by far the poor is the person who receives more violence (against). I agree that poverty and violence are related, but numbers also show that they receive it in a higher degree.

    Violence in other levels is canalized in different ways; the poor does not have all those resources to overcome the issue, on the contrary, his condition aggravates everything.

    Poverty, as a culture, brings protection against the adversity that people have to face; the sad part of this is that when it brings that protection it forces individuals to stay in. New Orleans taught us a lot, poverty makes people react and behave with different patterns.

  14. rob.returns

    rob.returns Senior Member

    Philippines-English, tagalog, spanish, chavacano, tausog, visaya, ilonggo.
    Thanks for reminding,

    edited it already.

  15. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    This is from post #1.

    Please try to stay on this topic. You are absolutely welcome to open OTHER THREADS to discuss related matters.
  16. murena Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Mexico / Spanish
    Two comments related with this post, which I think are relevant for the topic.

    1. I do not agree that urban poverty means crime automatically. Recently I was in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, where you can see extreme poverty everywhere. There are beggars in the streest and people trying to seel something to you, but everybody was really nice and the feeling of being in a safety place was there, eventhough it is a very populated city.

    2. If the question is about the relation between poverty and danger, I think that most of the crimes that are dangerous and violent, are commited (or organised) by people who are not that poor. Dangerous crime involves having weapons and perhaps a vehicle. I think that this kind of crimes comes rather from social resentment, mental health problems, lack of values or greed. I am thinking on crimes like kidnapping, sex abuses and drug trafic, which are a problem in Mexico and do not think that its direct cause is just poverty.
  17. *Cowgirl*

    *Cowgirl* Senior Member

    USA English
    I took the question quite differently. My views are that if you live in poverty you are in danger. You're in danger of starving, illness (sometimes), and loosing what little you do have.

    I know people below the poverty line, and though they aren't living on the streets, they are certainly not dangerous.
  18. Lucyernaga Junior Member

    Panama, Spanish
    Don't take it personal, but the whole idea of poverty being equal to danger is the sympthom of a superficial society. And I repeat: don't take it personal. I, myself, when tourists come to my country, usually make some recommendations on certain locations we call "área roja" (meaning dangerous streets). So, once, my mother said -after listening to my words- "well, same danger in a discotheque, and nobody complains. Isn't it dark, noisy, full of drugs, alcohol and depraved people among inocent ones?".
  19. asm Senior Member

    New England, USA
    Mexico, Spanish
    I liked you post cowgirl: I think poor people have to deal daily with some things that other people do not want to have in their life time, not even for a second.

    Poverty creates a culture and that culture has positive and negative things that help people cope with the enormous pain poverty causes. Sometimes we only see those negative effects, but we forget the other part. If we put in a balance all these things, only one poor peorson has more "points" to go to heaven than Paris Hilton and all her family put together.

    Thanks for sharing this

  20. Kelly B

    Kelly B Senior Member

    USA English
    My original answer was from the same point of view as Cowgirl's. It is dangerous to be poor, and it could happen to anyone, at least here. Sure, you work hard, eat well and exercise. Think you've got it made? Get cancer -> lose your job -> lose your health insurance -> lose your house. That's if you manage to live through it. Then what? The new bankruptcy laws in the US make it even more scary.

    That said, yes, I'd be afraid to go through some neighborhoods in our little city, where seven teenagers have been murdered so far this year, three in the last three weeks.
  21. blancalaw

    blancalaw Senior Member

    Detroit, Michigan
    USA, English
    I voted Poverty does not equal danger because I know a lot of poor people who are as sweet as pudding pie. Sure those who do not have money are more likely to become desperate and rob something, but just because someone is poor does not make them a thief.
  22. lampiao Senior Member

    I would not connect poverty with theft and/or other crimes.
    I think that depends on the nature of each individual. Some will resort to theft to get what they need, others won't. For eg. beggars. I don't feel threatened if I come across a beggar, yet, he/she is definitely poor.

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