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pheisenberg t1_j858an3 wrote

Similarly, most poor teenagers don’t commit crimes, therefore poverty is not a sufficient cause of crime.


dern_the_hermit t1_j85bfrg wrote

That doesn't track. It's not like a light switch where there's just the two "crime" or "not crime" states. It's a matter of likelihood that someone will commit a crime, not a guarantee.

If the crime rate increases as economic standing decreases, that establishes a link between poverty and crime, there's no need for most of the group to be exhibiting the behavior.


pheisenberg t1_j88y149 wrote

The point is that there must be many other factors that tend to increase or decrease the likelihood someone will commit a crime, because their wealth is not a very good predictor of crime at all at the individual level.


dern_the_hermit t1_j8aceti wrote

> The point is that there must be many other factors

Exactly, which is why it's weird to see someone insist that most members of a group must exhibit the relevant behaviors to establish a connection. Crime is a complicated issue and remains opportunistic even when there is greater incentive to commit it, for instance.


SatanicNotMessianic t1_j85vvnm wrote

That’s not how statistical analysis of correlation works. If chewing tobacco causes oral cancer rates to soar by a factor of ten, it doesn’t matter if only 35% of chewing tobacco users get oral cancer.


pheisenberg t1_j88xt7w wrote

If your output variable is “#cancer in large population”, yes, an increase in tobacco use rate causes it to go up. I don’t think that’s true of crime, though. Not every recession causes a jump in crimes rates.

But I was talking about the output variable “Does person X commit a crime?” For that, most of the time poverty will not cause crime. There must be many other factors involved such as community relationships, opportunity, values, likelihood of going to prison, etc.