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Chapter 3: Crime in the United States Offenders and Victims

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1 Chapter 3: Crime in the United States Offenders and Victims

2 The most frequently used sources of information about crime are the media, self-reporting surveys and official government statistics. Media: Over-dramatized and distorts the true extend and seriousness of the problem.

3 Self-Reporting Surveys:
Shows a much higher incidence of criminal offending than did official records. Typically conducted with school-age youths. Official Sources: FBI’s Uniform Crime Report & NIBRS: 1930’s Congress assigned the FBI to serve as a national clearinghouse for crime statistics

4 Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey.
Index Crimes: Part 1: murder, aggravated assault causing serious bodily harm, forcible rape, robbery, burglary, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey. Gathers information on personal crime experience through interview with approximately 160,000 people age 12 and over.

5 Dark figure of crime: Violent Crimes:
Less than half the crimes committed are reported to the police. The true number of crimes is called the Dark Figure of crime. Violent Crimes: Murder: defined in UCR as the willful killing of one human by another First Degree murder: willful, deliberate and premeditated taking of another persons life. Second Degree murder: not premeditated but the intent to kill is there. (may not involve a weapon)

6 Manslaughter: no element of malice; the death was accidental with no original intent, hatred, ill will or disregard for the lives of others. Negligent homicide: accidental death that results from the reckless operation of a motor vehicle, boat, plane, or firearm. Justifiable homicide: self-defense or defense of another.

7 Assault: unlawful attack on another to inflict sever bodily injury. Aggravated assault: assault while in possession of a weapon. Rape: sexual intercourse through force or the threat of force. Aggravated Rape: sexual intercourse with an unconscious or helpless victim (mental defect) reasonably know to the attacker.

8 Crimes against Property:
Robbery: Stealing or taking anything of value from the care, custody or control of a person by force of threat of force. Crimes against Property: Burglary: unlawful entrance into a building to commit theft or another felony. Forcible entry, unlawful entry where no force is used and attempted entry.

9 Larceny/Theft: unlawful taking and removing of another’s personal property with intent to deprive the owner of the property. Identity Theft: Misappropriation of name, SSN, credit card #, or other pieces of personal information for fraudulent purposes Arson: intentionally damaging or destroying or attempting to damage or destroy by means of fire or explosion the property of another with out consent.

10 Part II Index Crimes: White Collar Crime: occupational or business-related crime Computer-related Crime: (cybercrime) Relatively easy to commit and difficult to detect Committed by insiders Often not prosecuted Cybercops: highly trained police officers who investigate technological crime.

11 Organized Crime: Hate Crimes:
Continuing criminal conspiracy seeking high profits with an organized structure that uses fear and corruption. Gambling, drugs, prostitution, pornography, loan sharking, and infiltration of legitimate businesses. Hate Crimes: FBI defines bias or hate crimes as a criminal offense committed against a person, property or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnic/national origin.

12 Xenophobia: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners.
Hate Crimes may be motivated by bias against a person’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity. Race is the most frequent motivation of hate crimes. May involve cross burning, swastika paintings, bombings, hanging in effigy, disturbing a public meeting, graffiti, obscene letters or phone calls or face to oral abuse.

13 Matthew Shepard and James Bryd
Hate Crimes Statistics Act 1990 directed the US Justice Department to collect bias-crime data nationwide. Ritualistic Crime: A system of rites, a ceremonial act linked to a belief system and may include symbols, artifacts, words, gestures, costumes and music. An unlawful act committed during a ceremony related to a belief system

14 Theories of Criminality and Causes of Crime:
Classical Theory: people are free agents with free will. People commit crimes because they want to. Positivist Theory: sees criminals as “victims of society” and of their own biological, sociological, cultural and physical enviornments.

15 Influence of Biology: Biological functions and conditions that have been related to criminal behavior include such variables as brain tumors, disorders of the limbic system, endocrine abnormalities, chromosomal abnormalities and neurological dysfunction produced by prenatal and postnatal experience.

16 Influence of Environment:
Poverty Unemployment Family Drug and alcohol abuse It is likely that criminal behavior is the result of both heredity and life experiences.

17 Juvenile Offenders: Status Offenders:
Delinquency: refers to actions or conduct by a juvenile in violation of criminal law or constitution. Status Offenders: Violations of the law applying to only those under legal age (smoking, curfew violations, alcoholic beverages)

18 Victims of Crime and Violence
Direct or primary victims: those initially harmed by injury, death, or loss of property as a result of a crime. Indirect or secondary victims: all others threatened or fearful as a result of the commission of crime. Victims may suffer financially through the loss or destruction of property (time lost from work, medical costs, and the introduction of security measures to prevent further victimization.

19 A second victimization may occur as a result of insensitivity on the part of those in the criminal justice system. Victims may also be victimized again by lack of release data and notification and by intimidation. Victims Rights: may include the right to appear at sentencing, the right to appear at plea bargaining, the use of victim impact statements prior to sentencing, the right to be informed of the status of their case, the right to be informed of an offender’s release from prison and the right to receive restitution.


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