4 drivers of crime

Crime fiction explores personal motives, like revenge or jealousy, to explain why people commit crime. But what’s driving real crime?

Four drivers to consider:

  • Poverty
  • Lack of respect
  • Greed
  • Lack of political courage

Poverty

You only have to look at the socio-economic demographic of the incarcerated population 2013-02-04 10.36.20to know this is true – if you’re brave enough to do that research.

The average cost of housing a prisoner in Australia is $292 per day or $106,580 per year, according to a recent Productivity Commission report. No doubt the costs are similar in similar jurisdictions across the western world.

It seems we can find the money to lock up the poor in our prisons but we can’t find the money to seriously address the causes of poverty in our societies.

Lack of respect

  • Lack of respect for women.
  • Lack of respect for children.
  • Lack of respect for minorities.

Why are there protests against rape and the failure to address it seriously in so many countries?

Why are we having enquiries into the sexual abuse of children?

Why is there a need for a #blacklivesmatter movement?

Why is domestic violence only now becoming part of the political agenda?

Respect does not have a dollar cost but it does require that we see each other as equal human beings.

Why is that so hard?

Greed

48This is the real reason why we all had to suffer the consequences of the so called Global Financial Crisis. This is the real reason why we are facing what Al Gore told us was the inconvenient truth of global warming. Most of those responsible don’t have a criminal record.

The reverse side of one person’s greed is the impoverishment of many. Think about the leaders of industry who pay themselves millions and their workers the basic minimum wage. What do you think the consequences of that are?

One term used to describe it is the working poor – people with full time jobs whose incomes fall below the poverty line in their society. You wouldn’t think it would be possible in some of the richest nations on earth – but it’s a reality for millions. Remember Mitt Romney’s comment on the 47% who wouldn’t vote for him?

Lack of political courage

Lack of political courage at both a national and personal level.

Politicians don’t want to rock the boat in a world of patronage, where taking the courageous stand will cost them their job. All political parties rely on ‘donations’ to survive.

Governments want to be re-elected. Everyone in government enjoys the trappings of power.

As individuals, we’re all looking after our own interests.

We have forgotten that we are part of a community.

Closing thought

The golden rule – ‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.’ – can be traced back to two commandments Jesus gave to his disciples:

  • Love one another.
  • Love your neighbour as yourself.

Cover2

There’s is nothing in the intention of the golden rule about screwing one another – either literally of figuratively.

Dying days

They spent hours strolling along the beach in the dying days of summer.

What are dying days?

In the context of the sentence above, they are the dwindling days or the last days of summer. They represent that period of transition from the pleasant season of summer to the chill winds of autumn – announcing the imminent approach of winter coldness.

They’re romantic sounding words, evoking images of warm evenings, gentle breezes, and a foreboding of things coming to an end. These are the days we do not want to end.

Summer1

Dying days take on a more sinister tone within the context of a murder mystery, where we often find ourselves dealing with an examination of the days leading up to someone’s untimely death. Now there’s another interesting description – untimely death.

Death is, after all, a natural event but we generally only regard it as timely when it occurs naturally, that is without assistance from an outside force – like a blunt instrument being applied to the head.

I wonder what each of us would do differently if we knew we were living our dying days, that dwindling number of days leading up to our untimely death.

Isn’t it intriguing how we live as if we will be here forever?

Yet we all know that there will come a day when we aren’t living our dying days but our dying day.

It’s fascinating reading about someone else’s untimely death within the context of a crime novel, and consoling to know that crimes can be solved and justice applied, but what is it that attracts us to this genre?

As a writer, it’s about creating a web of intrigue based on the darker side of life, taking myself into places in words that I would never go into in life. In the last week, for example, I have spent my nights plotting and then executing a triple murder – all without leaving the house or picking up a weapon.

I wonder why people do things like kill their partner. And, when you read real crime stories as opposed to crime fiction, you discover that people do things for very trivial reasons.

Maybe we read crime because fictional crime is more exciting than the real stuff.

What do you think?

Quick crime

He watched them walk to the bus stop and catch a bus into the city.

They would not be back for hours.

He entered the yard by the side gate. There was one large window in the rear wall of the house. It was shut. A gentle slide with his gloved hand revealed that it was not locked. The window opened into an open-plan kitchen. He stepped through into a cool interior, saturated with the smell of the bacon and eggs they’d shared for breakfast.

key-408559_640The keys were on the counter.

He backed their car into the street.

Too easy.

 

Thanks for dropping by, Peter.

Crime and romance together

Murder MysteryThe stories in the Inspector West series are a blending of crime and romance stories.

You might wonder why anyone would write crime stories with a romance or love story theme.

As a Science and Maths student doing the compulsory English subject, I didn’t become a serious reader of fiction until after I had left school. That’s when I discovered I liked reading – when I didn’t have to write a critical essay on the book to satisfy some English teacher. Once I was free of all those school based expectations and prescribed reading lists, I started to read for enjoyment, as well as for learning.

I’ve been a reader ever since….and in my case we’re talking around forty-five years of reading. I’m writing this in my shed (or should I say library?) surrounded by several thousand books – and that’s not counting the hundreds of ebooks on my devices. Maybe I should confess to being addicted  to reading.

Peter in his library

I read a lot of book across several genres but I like mystery stories, especially murder mysteries – that scientific bent showing up trying to solve the riddle and work who did it before all is revealed. In recent years I’ve been reading Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo, Louise Penny and Michael Robotham to name a few.

As a regular reader of this blog you’d also know I’m interested in personal growth and development, and development of that inner awareness that enables the journey. I’m also interested in relationships, because each of us lives within all kinds of relationships, so there are books by Deepak Chopra, Richard Rohr, Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, Gregg Braden and quite a few others on my bookshelves.

Bob Baker, one of my marketing mentors, claims that we write stories to educate, to entertain and to inspire.

I’m aiming to meet those lofty goals through exploring the lives of people entangled in the events of a crime.

Basically, I use the crime story as a framework around which to weave the stories of the people involved – the people committing the crime, the police officers trying to solve the crime and apprehend the killer (usually), and the people impacted by the crime, including the victim. They’re stories about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, with a touch of suspense or mystery thrown in.

In a lot of crime stories the detective is larger than life. Think Inspector Rebus or Harry Hole.

Inspector West isn’t one of those guys. He’s an ordinary guy with the same sort of relationship issues you and I might have, and he has his own love story, which you can read more about in The Holiday – a bit later in the year.

In After , I examine the relationships of the husband of the victim. I was intrigued by what it would be like not only having to deal with your wife being killed, but also having to cope with the unravelling of the facade of your relationship. I thought going down that rabbit hole might be a little more interesting than just doing the crime story on its own.

Love Story 2

Mind you, writing the crime stories so that readers want to find out who did it, and why, is a lot of fun.

Leave a comment to let us know what you think about this blend of stories.

Thanks for dropping by, Peter