Most human decisions come down to a calculated choice of risk vs. Reward. Making punishments more harsh makes the risk higher for the same "reward". It's simply psychology. If the punishment for stealing an apple was giving money to the criminal, then there would be a lot more stolen apples.
Any historical examples or subsidizing the location with income, health care, and education neglects simple psychological principles and assumes that these conditions don't exist in communities that commit crime.
A more complex analysis would lead us to believe that the only thing that would prevent crime would be good human beings, but that is a discussion for another matter. But in short, yes - most evidence points to the fact that harsher punishments help prevent/deter crime more often than average. Obviously exceptions exist - but not enough to justify a "No" answer - thus we can conclude that such an affirmation is based on incomplete logistical analysis.
People are different. We know this. The south is patriotic and sometimes racist. The north is sometimes cool, and sometimes stubborn. California believes in equality, but they are politically correct to the point where they will not have an open mind. Death penalties work for different kinds of people. It depends on the situation. You could be a thief in the south that is stubborn and wants to do what he wants. A thief in the north could just be trying to do right for his loved ones. It depends. My idea is this. In low-income areas, their will be crime. Don't put a death penalty their because those are people who were born into poverty. Redeem them by creating prison programs that teach them how to make a positive benefit in their economy. In high income areas where usually their smart criminals who would pull off heists. Impose death penalties on them because they probably already think that is the way to go. Smart Criminals also tend to be people that served jail time and become better criminals.
Minimum sentencing laws allow murderers to have shorter prison sentences than minor drug offensives.
French revolution is one era in our past that had extremely strict punishments. The punishments (which should not be described on a site with so many children) were not successful deterrents against others committing crimes.
The most effective deterrence against crime is social well being through sufficient income, health care, education, and a belief that life will be better in the future. A better way to understand this is: No one is born a criminal and no child has a desire to be a criminal when they grow up. What reasons would a person have to commit crimes for the first time? If you say money, what are some reasons why that individual would need money and not have another method of acquiring that money?