It differs from simply citing poverty or racism as the cause of crime because it includes almost all social components including the family, social institutions such as school, the community, peer groups and home life. The concept of being "socially excluded" can also take into account economic and political exclusion, such as unemployment and immigration status, as well as lack of access to medical care, housing, policing and security. (Young, J, 'Crime and Social Exclusion').
The effect of social exclusion on crime is evident. Richard Garside (2008) reports in the Guardian that there were no homicides in 2007 in more prosperous areas of London, whereas other more impoverished areas accounted for 46 alone. The Londoners who are socially included are safer, whereas "those living in the capital's poorer neighbourhood's appear to be at much greater risk of homicide than those living in its leafier, richer suburbs."
To look at the causes of crime this way makes it a social problem rather than an individual problem; in other words, it is viewed as a symptom of the society we live in rather than the situation of an isolated individual.
But those who research crime in the U.K. differ in how they interpret the cause of social exclusion. Some assert that people are self-excluded; that is, the fault lies within themselves and their lack of motivation can be traced to their dependency on the welfare state. Under this scenario, even if there were jobs available, they wouldn't take them.
Another theory is that the individual doesn't lose the motivation to work but doesn't have the capacity to look for work due to lack of positive role models.
Then there's the third theory that may best explain the increase in crime: that economic decline over the last few decades has been so extreme and jarring that it thrust many in the category of social exclusion. It used to be that one could count on a lifetime employment with a good company and a sense of security. Now, due to downsizing, outsourcing and widespread unemployment, work is much more temporary and contractual. This adds a great deal of insecurity and creates a larger underclass of the stigmatized unemployed who are often paraded in the media as drug dealing criminals separate from those in the "leafier, richer suburbs".
That dichotomy of exclusion/inclusion combined with media amplification led to one of the most famous and effective enunciation of crime policy by any politician, former Prime Minister Tony Blair's slogan, "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime." (King 2008, p. 137). It ushered in the Labour Party after a string of defeats. It emulated that of the United States with its emphasis on enforcement as opposed to rehabilitation. The implication was that the government would take a two-pronged attack on crime: enforcement and prevention.
The framework of social exclusion, prevention and enforcement led the Home Office department of the government to pursue sweeping solutions to a myriad of interrelated causes.
When examining the problem of youth and crime, risk factors and causes include a troubled home life, including absent parents and volatility; truancy and failing at school; mental illness; drug and alcohol abuse; poor housing and homelessness; and peer group pressure.
Because the government sees the causes of crime as multi-dimensional and social in nature, the solution it comes up with is similarly expansive and social. The youthful offender is like