‘Fatherlessness’ is one of the ‘true root causes’ of crime in America: Jason Riley

A new academic study is suggesting the presence of two parents in a household may play a crucial role in ensuring safer communities. 

Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Riley, who recently wrote about this topic, argued on “Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy” that the biggest root of crime is fatherlessness.

Riley referenced the book “The Two-Parent Privilege” by economist Melissa Kearney in emphasizing the significant impact of family structure on social inequality and the lack of discussion on this issue within academia and in this country.

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“I think the bigger problem here is fatherlessness. It is one of the true root causes of this. We know that the correlation between a child coming from a fatherless home and ending up in prison or on drugs, or a single parent himself are much, strongly, more strongly correlated with whether that child came from a fatherless home than it is with race, than it is with ethnicity, than it is from poverty and income level,” Riley said. “So the bigger factor is, in fact, fatherlessness and we don’t talk about that enough.”

The FBI’s 2022 Crime in the Nation data report, released in Oct. 2023, revealed nearly a million vehicles – worth more than $20 billion – were stolen throughout the United States as the rate of motor vehicle thefts increased by more than 8% nationwide.

The rate of property crimes per 100,000 citizens also increased 7.1% from 2021 to 2022, per FBI data, with a total of 6,513,829 related charges filed by police. Larcenies, the agency said, increased by 7.8%. The rate of burglaries, however, remained unchanged.

Gowdy pointed to Riley’s recent column and referenced his argument that “the best way to avoid poverty, is to finish high school, get a job, and wait until you’re married to have children.”

Riley emphasized that such a statement isn’t meant to victimize teen moms, but instead shed light on statistics to encourage children to make the “right decisions.”

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Property crime offenses in all categories spiked by 7.1 percent in 2022 from the previous year.  (Federal Bureau of Investigation)

“In New York City, some years back, they were putting up billboards under Mayor Bloomberg on subways and trains and buses, and so forth, and he got a lot of pushback from liberals who say… this is victimizing teen moms and blaming them for their circumstances, and we don’t want to do that, but it’s not about that.” Riley stated. “We all know heroic single parents, Trey. Some of us are related to them even, they do a great job, but we know that the statistics tell us that they have their work cut out. That is the harder way to go and our goal here is to encourage kids to make the right decisions going forward so they don’t end up in that situation. It’s not about moralizing and blaming people.”

When asked about the importance of a father’s presence in a child’s life, Riley said, “They’re role models, they’re simply role models. They teach their sons how to behave, how to carry themselves, how to treat women and that is what fathers have done throughout civilization.”

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Amid the increase in property crimes, the FBI statistics showed violent crimes were trending downward, decreasing collectively by 1.7% last year.

Homicides dropped by 6.1%, the agency estimated, and rapes dipped by 5.4% from 2021. Aggravated assaults saw a lesser decrease with 1.1% fewer incidents.

Fox News’ Christina Coulter contributed to this report.

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