Crime is a multi-faceted problem with many influences. Poverty has a significant effect on crime even after controlling for other factors. Neighborhood structure issues lead to conditions of crime — the idea that culture is in the driver's seat is a myth. High rates of crime in black communities can be explained by black poverty and segregation, creating an ecological niche of self-perpetuating violence.
Education can help fight crime: data from compulsory schooling laws shows that more years in school are associated with less crime, even when controlling for family background. A controlled experiment from Sweden shows that more education can reduce crime. Whereas incarceration causes more crime than it prevents.
Drug prohibition, like alcohol prohibition before it, has been a major cause of gang violence. The focus on drug arrests has distracted police from fighting real crime and destroyed police community relationships.
Man maintains a capacity for criminal violence because violence is a behavioral strategy that has often lead to reproductive success. Twin studies agree with common sense in showing that some people have more propensity toward violence than others, and this a matter of nature, not just nurture.
Crime flourishes not because of poverty or inequality but when social and governmental structures fail to punish anti-social behavior and allow predatory strategies to be successful. Social scientist Raymond Fosdick was correct back in 1920 when he wrote that America's crime problem was due to a heterogeneous population and an ineffective justice system. His findings have held up, but since then academic criminology has become more and more detached from reality. Segregation does not cause crime, rather crime causes segregation. Policies to coerce integration do not reduce crime, they just make middle class people miserable. What has reduced crime is more active policing.
Crime rates vary dramatically and consistently by race, both in the United States and internationally, with blacks having the highest rates and Asians the lowest rates. These racial differences are powerful even when controlling for other factors. In primitive societies, natural selection can select for men who are good at violence. But long periods of rule-of-law can plausibly cause genetic pacification of the population, as may have happened in Roman times, early Western European history, and later European history.