Persistent poverty, in short, is more often than not a moral problem, not an economic one -- stealing springs from that same moral failing. That is why affordable housing, provided for free by the government, is usually covered in graffiti, trashed and burned out. You'll never see a private, single-family home treated like that by its owner.
There's a basic rule in business: If you tell people that a product is free, they treat it like it has no value. We've spent the last 70 years in this country telling our poor that money and property are free. Of course, they don't attribute any value to money or property, then. Of course, they treat others' property as though it's valueless, to be stolen or taken at whim.
The liberalism of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson and President Obama hasn't turned thieves into sudden lovers of big-band swing. It's turned more and more Americans into thieves. Don't blame poverty. Blame morality. And blame a government and a society that have abandoned the notion of responsibility for juvenile delinquency.