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Chapter 13: Crime. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 13: Crime. Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ All rights reserved."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.

2 Chapter 13: Crime

3 Measuring Crime: Crime Statistics
Violation of norms written into law Two basic types of street crime Violent and nonviolent crimes Violent crime: An illegal act committed against another person Nonviolent crime: An illegal act committed against property

4 Continued Nobody wants crime in their neighborhood, but people like crime in their TV programming CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Bones May make crime sexy and interesting Don’t capture complicated process of solving and preventing crime as done by real-life officers and public officials Paperwork is one piece of the process rarely seen Paperwork is an important aspect of detective work Tracking and analyzing crime statistics

5 Continued Criminology: Uniform Crime Reports (UCR):
Scientific study of crime, deviance, and social policies that the criminal justice system applies Uniform Crime Reports (UCR): UCR data comes from official police statistics of reported crimes and is collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) UCR crime index uses eight major offenses to measure crime Four are violent crimes: homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault Other four are property crimes: burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson

6 Continued National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
One of nation’s largest ongoing household surveys Calculates how many violent and nonviolent crimes U.S. residents aged 12 and older experience each year Survey reaches nearly 70,000 households in US and reports higher rates of crime than the UCR Supports the rule of thumb that about half of the crimes committed in the United States go unreported

7 Continued Criminologists (sociologists who study crime) often use both UCR and NCVS data UCR data useful as source for reliable and timely statistics on crimes reported to law enforcement agencies nationwide NCVS data useful as a source for information on the characteristics of criminal victimization and the details behind unreported crimes

8 Crime Demographics Age
Majority of criminal behavior occurs between ages of 15 and 25 After age 25, criminal behavior less likely to occur throughout life Age/crime relationship important when developing target audiences for crime prevention programs This demographic factor most important aspect in predicting the rise and fall of crime rates in the US Type of crime correlates to age of those most likely to commit it

9 Continued Gender Historically, crime’s a male-dominated activity
77% of people arrested are men, as are 90% of inmates in U.S. state and federal prisons Statistics more startling because men make up less than half the population in the United States Differences are fluid Number of female inmates in US growing steadily Bureau of Justice statistics 1.2% increase in number of incarcerated women Number of incarcerated males only increased by 0.7%

10 Continued Race Relationship between race and crime very controversial
More so than any other demographic Due to long history of racial inequality in US Many questions can be raised regarding legitimacy of statistics African Americans represent approximately 12% of population Yet account for 27% of arrests in the United States

11 Continued Minorities hold more negative views of police and criminal justice system than whites More likely to be victims of police brutality More likely to perceive police actions as racially motivated Criminologists suggest this statistic may be skewed due to practice of racial profiling Act of using race to determine whether a person is likely to have committed a crime

12 Continued No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System, author David Cole Although 95% of residents in Florida County were white, 70% of drivers stopped by the police were African American and Latino Findings give support to the claim that “driving while black” is considered a criminal offense in some areas Minorities tend to be poorer and may live in neighborhoods where crime more frequent Such areas also attract more police surveillance



15 Continued Socioeconomic Status Social class can be linked to crime
Direct correlation between those caught and lower social class Author Jeffrey Reiman More crimes reported in deprived areas due to fact that poor people are easier to catch and convict and lack access to same resources that the affluent do Every step of the criminal justice system wealthy weeded out by a system of: Bail, public defenders, and plea bargains that all work in their favor

16 Media and Crime Crime is sensational
Scares, enrages, and intrigues NCIS, The Mentalist, CSI: Miami, and CSI: New York Nielsen’s list of top 10 TV programs Do not portray accurate depiction of crime or crime solving Shows add exaggerated details that make viewers think most crime is dangerous, tense, and provocative

17 Continued Criminologist Marcus Felson The “dramatic fallacy” of crime
Offenses most publicized by media are far more dramatic than those found in real life Lead viewers to develop a misperception of crime Particularly true regarding murder Murders account for less than 1% of violent crimes and even smaller percentage of overall crime Offense most commonly portrayed in television shows Media use real-life crime as a ratings boost

18 Psychological Perspectives on Crime
Stanton Samenow Criminals think differently than non-criminals Tend to engage in chronic lying (even to themselves) View others’ property as their own Have an inflated self-image American Psychiatric Association Criminals are antisocial and unable to conform to the norms of society Criminals are impulsive, aggressive, and irritable; they deceive often and feel no remorse for their actions

19 Functionalist Theories
French social scientist Emile Durkheim Crime is always present in society and must serve some function Crime provides a clear moral contrast between what is right and what is wrong Helps unify society Crime unites people in the fight against it Crime can also bring about social revolution

20 Continued American sociologist Robert K. Merton
Social factors play a role in criminality Theory of Anomie Argues that criminal activity results from an offender’s inability to achieve certain goals There is a structural problem in America – poor people blocked from achieving goals they believe they should be able to reach Social Disorganization Theory Poor neighborhoods with weak social institutions have higher rates of crime

21 Symbolic Interactionist Theories
American criminologist Edwin Sutherland Differential Association Theory Criminal activity is a learned behavior that stems from the people with whom we interact The more a person associates with delinquents, the more likely it is that the person will learn criminal behavior

22 Continued Criminologist Ronald Akers & Psychologist Albert Bandura
Social Learning Theory Learning is the key component of criminality People learn all kinds of things, from aggression and violence to kindness and peace Social learning comes about in the same way as other types of learning – from being enforced Potential “learning experiences” can come from those closest to us, and from other interpersonal interactions as well, such as media

23 Social Control Theories
People are self-interested, and these natural traits can prompt criminal activity Walter Reckless Criminality influenced by both internal and external forces Internal forces include sense of morality and knowledge of right and wrong External forces are factors such as police presence Containment theory Criminals cannot resist the temptations that surround them

24 Continued Criminologist Travis Hirschi
There are four social bonds that affect personal restraint Attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief People who lack these social bonds often become involved in criminal behavior Attachment, refers to our relationship with others Commitment, refers to our dedication to live a socially acceptable life Involvement, refers to participating in conventional activities Belief, refers to a person’s dedication and conviction

25 Conflict Theory Social conflict theories
Focus on how issues of social class, power, and capitalism relate to crime Dutch criminologist Willem Bonger Capitalism causes crime because it encourages people to be egoistic and selfish Creates a conflict in society that the poor cannot win Turn to crime as a way to combat social injustice

26 Continued Jeffrey Reiman
Capitalism creates a system in which actions of the rich are not considered criminal, yet actions of the poor are Your boss and/or your doctor are more likely to kill you than a stranger, and yet whom do you fear? Capitalism creates egoism, whereby people do not care about others, and the ends (obtaining wealth) justify the means

27 General Theories of Crime Causation
Robert Agnew General Strain Theory Strains from society lead people to perform criminal activity From individual goals or needs Strain can result from unpleasant life events Person might suffer strain from negative experiences such as abuse and pain

28 Continued Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi Self-control Theory
Criminals simply lack self-control Criminals are not able to delay gratification, so they seek short-term rewards at the expense of long-term consequences Most crimes involve spur-of-the-moment decisions Most people learn this form of self-control from their parents Criminals are raised by people who fail to teach the importance of rejecting short-term, brief rewards in favor of more pleasurable long-term ones


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