This research investigates the recent robbery cases reported in Willimantic, Connecticut. The goals of the research entail identifying the connection between poverty and the increasing crime rates in the town. Another goal is to identify other vital factors that are contributing to the current incidences of robbery in Willimantic. The methodology entails the use of mixed methods capturing both qualitative and quantitative elements of research. The collection of data is done using questionnaires to a sample of 300 people in the town. In terms of the results, it is anticipated that there will be a direct connection between poverty in Willimantic and the rising cases of robberies. Other factors such as the high rate of school dropouts and population density are also significant in contributing to robberies.
Possible Factors Affecting Crime Rates in Willimantic, Connecticut
The problem that has been chosen for the research proposal is the recent incidences of robbery in the town of Willimantic, Connecticut. It is worth noting that there has been a sharp increase in cases of robbery reported in Willimantic. Adamson and Charmelus (2014) inform that the recent incidences of robbery have put Willimantic at 2% higher than the average rate of robbery in Connecticut. There has been a belief that the recent incidences of robbery have been catalyzed by numerous factors. They include high rates of poverty, low levels of education completion, the nature of the police force, the age structure of the population, and unemployment. Other relevant factors that have been linked to these incidences include the level of participation in violent crimes, education, ethnicity, household income, and the population density. This problem is significant because it would give policymakers the opportunity to identify the key social and economic gaps to address in their course of alleviating robbery in Willimantic.
This research proposal presents the key elements of the anticipated research of the recent robberies in Willimantic, Connecticut.
Theory and Hypothesis
The life course theory heavily relies on the explication of the various factors that have contributed to the recent incidences of robbery in Willimantic, Connecticut. The research is guided by the hypothesis that states with high rates of poverty will have high rates of violent crime. The independent variable is high poverty rates while the dependent variable is the crime rate.
Several researchers have studied the nature of robbery in Willimantic and the entire state. For instance, Hoynes, Opdycke, and Miringoff (2006) investigated the social state of the entire Connecticut region. The study was conducted in different regions, including Willimantic. In this study, Hoynes, Opdycke, and Miringoff (2006) focused on identifying diverse social issues among the youth and adults. They established that the high levels of crime in towns such as Willimantic have emanated from alarming levels of high school dropouts. Most youths are not keen on completing their education and find themselves in the dungeon of robbery as they try to find an alternative way of living. Moreover, the study established that unemployment has been a catalyst in increasing robberies in the town, as adults aim at meeting their daily needs. Income variation between different households has also contributed to increased crime rates in the region. These findings would relate to this research, as they both focus on the conditions of living in the society, and their contribution to increasing rates of poverty. This study is limited by the fact that it tends to focus only on the social aspect while ignoring other factors that might have contributed to robberies.
Adamson and Charmelus (2014) also conducted a similar study focusing on diverse community factors and their relations to crime rates. The study aimed at investigating the economic and social gaps in Connecticut and their contribution to crime rates. One of the most notable findings of the study brought out the view that economic challenges have led to unemployment and income differences between various households in Connecticut. Therefore, most residents in towns such as Willimantic have been forced to resort to robbery, as part of their livelihood. This research is similar to the findings by Hoynes, Opdycke, and Maringoff (2006) who suggest that such situations must be addressed urgently to solve the crisis. Furthermore, this study established that the growing population is to be blamed for the increasing violent crimes. The aspect of human development is low and does not satisfy the actual needs of the community, hence leading to poverty. Lastly, Adamson and Charmelus (2014) found out that the persistent problems of low school completion ratios and the ethnic differences have contributed to crime rates. In fact, the police tend to be selective in the administration of justice, hence abating robberies in Willimantic. This study is limited by its focus on a wide range of towns within Connecticut. It would have been more effective with a focus on one particular town, as they have different factors leading to robberies.
Malloy, Bradford, Daly, and Mulhall (2012) studied the prevalence of crimes in Connecticut. In their study, they focused on different towns within Connecticut. They established that the density and the size of the community have played a key role in increasing incidences of robberies in different cities across Connecticut. Densely populated area is the reason for no adequate employment opportunities to accommodate everyone, hence leading to increased crime rates. Other factors identified to be part of the high robbery incidences include the lack of effective law enforcement structures, the age composition of the population, ethnicity, and alarming rates of poverty evidenced by poor housing among many people in the town. This study is limited by the massive statistical approach it embraces. It would have been more prudent to explain these variables in a more theoretical manner, as it is easily understandable.
Lastly, Bruce and Severance (2011) studied the involvement of Connecticut youths in violent crimes. In the research, they established that most youths are unemployed and always tempted to fall into crime as an alternative for a better life. Unemployment arises from their inability to complete a high school education. They tend to find themselves in the streets and use robbery as their only means of existence. Poor housing has also increased the level of homeliness and set most youths on the journey to robbery.
The descriptive research design will be adopted in this research. Accordingly, the descriptive research design is deemed appropriate because it effectively explores the relationship between the independent and the dependent variables. Moreover, it makes it easier for the researcher to understand the significance of control variables. As aforementioned, the independent variable for this study is high poverty rates. The study will be seeking to investigate the conditions of living in Willimantic, Connecticut. High poverty rates highlight the state in which most members of the population live and the manner in which they get their daily needs. The dependent variable is crime rates. Kneebone and Raphael (2011) confirm that it will seek to reveal the manner in which crime rates occur because of poverty among most residents in Willimantic. There will be numerous control variables chosen to serve as a measure to affect the volume of crime. They include education completion, the number of people living in poverty, the police force, population’s age, unemployment, household income, ethnicity, population density, violent crimes, and the level of education. All these will signify the operation of the dependent variable.
The research will use both qualitative and quantitative research methods also referred to as the mixed method of research. As noted above, the research will aim at describing the nature of the recent robberies and the motivation behind them. Leech and Onwuegbuzie (2009) affirm that with the mixed method, the research will be ready to embrace both the qualitative and quantitative techniques. It will make the whole research easily understandable and effective. It means that there will be a room for describing the data collected and analyzing them to establish their relevance to the problem.
The mixed method will be the most effective approach in proving the hypothesis because it offers the best of both qualitative and quantitative research approaches. The hypothesis will be easily proven through the in-depth description of every piece of data collected in the research. Leech and Onwuegbuzie (2009) assert that the quantitative analysis will be less complicated and will simplify the thesis, hence easily proving it. Secondly, this research approach will be effective in proving the thesis because it is more comprehensive in terms of covering the different matters of the research. Unlike the quantitative and qualitative approach, the mixed approach tends to be thorough and comprehensive in the description of the entire topic. Its accurateness and thoroughness in tackling the topic will make it easier for it to prove the thesis appropriately.
Target Population and Sampling Strategy
The target population for this study will be different households across Willimantic. Specifically, the research will target a sample size of 300 people from various households. Key sampling frames considered include the populations’ level of poverty, the level of education, age category, and ethnic orientation to ensure a balanced sample size is attained. These sample frames will give the researcher the opportunity to be more specific in the study and avoid any form of contradictions. It also allows the collection of varied data from the sample.
The stratified random sampling approach will be used. Bhattacherjee (2012) reiterates that the stratified sampling method will allow the researcher to divide the population into smaller groups in line with their respective characteristics. Participants will be selected randomly from each strata to ensure that a balanced sample is attained for the success of the research. It is the best method to use in this study because it gives every member of the population an equal chance of being selected to participate in the research. It is always vital to give every member an equal chance of selection. Randomness will be attained through effective classification of the strata and fair selection of every participant.
The schedule for sample recruiting will be based on the available resources. The researchers will be ready with the available financial and human resources to ensure that the required sample size is achieved in the required way. The recruitment of the sample population will be done in a procedural manner from morning to evening to ensure that the required respondents are effectively prepared for the research.
Data Collection Tools
The personal survey questionnaire will be utilized in the collection of data in this study. Every participant will only be allowed to respond to these questions after filling in the consent form to ensure that they are aware of what is expected of them. The questionnaire will be designed in such a way that it collects varied data from all participants. It will be ensured through the formulation of various questions relating to the problem of robbery in Willimantic. Open-ended questions will be used in the questionnaires because they give respondents an easier opportunity to put their points forward. Overall, questionnaires will be effective because they allow easy collection of data from all respondents. They are also quicker to administer and receive responses from the large population that has been targeted in this study. (The questionnaire and consent form are attached in the appendix).
Validity and Reliability
Validity is concerned about a test measuring. In this study, the face validity approach will be used in the measurement of validity. Leech and Onwuegbuzie (2009) opine that this approach will entail looking at the external appearance of the questionnaires and whether they present the exact questions needed to be investigated in the study. Again, internal validity will be widely considered to determine the effect of the independent variable on the dependent variable in the course of the study.
Reliability concerns the consistency of the measures. Bhattacherjee (2012) insists that the inter-rater reliability approach will be used in the measurement of reliability. With this approach, several research experts will be taken to the field to ensure that the instruments measure the selected data in a consistent manner. It will be necessary to depend on this approach because of its simplicity and avoidance of repetitions in the study.
Subjects Protection/Research Ethics
Bhattacherjee (2012) agrees that subjects will be protected through adequate consent and the assurance of confidentiality in all the details they present. They will not be required to write their names on the questionnaires to ensure that their suggestions and contributions to the research are protected in the best way possible. Again, they will be required to sign a consent form to ensure they are not compelled to participate in the study against their willingness. The assurance of confidentiality will avoid any form of victimization against all subjects in the study.
The first significant limitation of the study will be the amount of time available for the research. Accordingly, the amount of time available is only one week and it might not be enough for the completion of the overall research. Time is a limiting factor in this research because it reduces the chances of collecting adequate data from all participants. It will be quite challenging to gather in-depth data for this research with the amount of time available.
Another significant problem that the research might experience is the availability of respondents. It is clear that the research depends on a selected number of respondents from different households. Leech and Onwuegbuzie (2009) affirm that a problem might arise when participants are not readily available for the research. It will take more time to talk to them and convince them to participate in the research.
In summary, this project will be important in ensuring that the social and economic gaps in Willimantic and their contribution to robbery are identified. With this project in place, policymakers will have an easier opportunity to establish the significance of issues such as poverty and unemployment in contributing to robbery in Willimantic. The identification of the key factors leading to poverty will ensure that they are addressed effectively, hence avoiding further cases of robbery in the area. It will go a long way into boosting reforms in the justice, economic, and the social system, hence leading to a better town free of robbery. It is vital to ensure that the town is secure and free of any threat of robbery. Everyone likes to live in a secure place, and this research will play an instrumental role in ensuring the problem is gradually eradicated for a safer Willimantic.