Skip to main content Skip to local navigation

Professor Visano featured in Toronto Star article about reducing poverty

Professor Visano featured in Toronto Star article about reducing poverty

On Oct. 25 2020, the Toronto Star reported that Toronto's gun and violence problems can't be solved with existing solutions.

According to York University sociologist Livy Visano, these existing solutions are rooted in social and economic systems where wealth and power are cemented in unequal proportions and perceptions of crime are cast unfairly on the downtrodden.

Some experts suggest that reducing poverty will reduce crime. But the link between impoverishment and crime is more complex than many imagine, Visano says.

Certainly, Visano says, gun and gang crimes are largely products of poverty—where the acquisition of goods, respect, education and power is limited by economic status. However, Visano questions the strength of this link: "[w]e have a tendency to look at this (poverty-crime) relationship and not question what crime is.”

Visano says there are three broad categories of crime — crimes of pathology (or mental illness) crimes of passion and those of profit.

“Crimes of pathology (such as) serial killers straddle all classes, crimes of passion staddle all classes,” Visano says. “But crimes of profit—this also involves all classes—but the manifestations seem to be quite different. But for the more disadvantaged communities we see more visible forms, more obvious forms … in the more public and visible space,” Visano says.

Visano contends, however, that the most important tools for reducing violence and street crime may rest within disadvantaged communities themselves, where the vast majority of people have knowledge of street and gang life, but shun it.

Read the full Toronto Star article

Access the article through Passport York