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Crime. Today Crime versus Deviance Causes of crime (functionalism, symbolic interactionism, conflict theory) Juvenile Delinquency Solutions Turn in your survey questions assignment from last week at the end of class. Crime vs. Deviance. Deviance.

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Crime versus Deviance

Causes of crime (functionalism, symbolic interactionism, conflict theory)

Juvenile Delinquency


Turn in your survey questions

assignment from last week at

the end of class



  • A deviant act is any act that that violates the norms of the society you live in
  • This may or may not necessarily be a criminal act in the society where you live
  • EX: cutting in line at the bank is deviant
  • EX: robbing the bank is deviant and criminal
how do we get info about crime
How do we get info about crime?
  • Official statistics
  • Victimization surveys
  • Self-report offender surveys
problems with official statistics
Problems With Official Statistics
  • Many crimes are not reported.
  • Some reported crimes are not recorded by police.
  • Some rates may be exaggerated.
what causes criminal behavior
What causes criminal behavior?
  • Biological theories
  • Psychological theories
  • Sociological theories
what causes criminal behavior sociological theories
What causes criminal behaviorSociological theories

Structural Functionalism

1. Strain theory

2. Crime can be functional

Symbolic Interactionism

3. Control theory

4. Labeling theory

5. Deterrence theory

6. Differential Association

7. Conflict Perspective

structural functionalism robert merton strain theory theory of anomie
Structural FunctionalismRobert Merton Strain Theory/Theory of Anomie
  • Strain theory: when people believe a goal is important
  • but do not have legitimate means to attain it
  • they experience strain
  • state of anomie-a sense of normlessness
  • Merton created a list of the modes of adaptation to a state of anomie
robert merton strain theory theory of anomie
Robert Merton Strain Theory/Theory of Anomie

Cultural goal = goal that most people in society feel is important

Institutionalized means = legitimate way of attaining the goal

financial success

go to college and apply for a high paying job

work hard to perfect your talent and receive a high pay for it

Society’s Goals: ___

Society’s Way: ___

merton strain theory
Merton- Strain Theory

Society’s Goals: yes

Society’s Way: no

1.Innovation-accept the cultural goal but reject the institutional means of attaining it

Example: Drug Dealer

seeking financial success but not following norms of society to achieve the success

merton strain theory11
Merton- Strain Theory

Society’s Goals: no

Society’s Way: yes

2.Ritualism-does not buy into the goals of society but follows the routines

Example:an apathetic high school student who goes through the motion of going to classes but has no desire to go to college and get a high paying job

merton strain theory12
Merton- Strain Theory

3.Retreatism- individuals have rejected both the goals of culture and retreated from society

Society’s Goals: no

Society’s Way: no

Example: drug addict

  • divorce themselves from society
  • do not seek the goals or rewards of society
  • only seek access to the drug they are addicted to
  • willing to break the law to obtain those drugs
merton strain theory13
Merton –Strain Theory

4. Rebellion-rejecting the values and institutions of one’s culture and substituting them for a new set of values.

Society’s Goals: no, makes own goals

Society’s Way: maybe


Animal rights activist

A woman rejecting the goal of attaining financial success and deciding to focus on animal rights instead

merton strain theory those who don t feel strain anomie conform
Merton- Strain TheoryThose who don’t feel strain/anomie conform:

5. Conformity-individuals who accept the cultural goals of society as well as the institutionalized means of attaining these goals.

Society’s Goals: yes

Society’s Way: yes

Example: Business owner. Believes in the goals of personal financial achievement, studies business administration in college, earns an M.B.A and then begins their own online company

other structural functionalist viewpoints
Other structural functionalist viewpoints

Crime is functional for society

  • Strengthens group cohesion:people develop solidarity when they come together to express outrage over a criminal violation.
  • Punishment reiterates boundaries of what is considered right or wrong
  • May be a catalyst for social change

Structural functionalist Review

emphasize how deviants are products of society

  • Deviance occurs because the structure of society makes it impossible for some people to achieve success in legitimate ways
symbolic interactionism
Symbolic Interactionism

Control theory

  • A strong social bond between individuals and society keeps most individuals from violating social norms.

Can you match the labels to the photograph?


sex offender

















sex offender




labeling theory
Labeling Theory

Society creates deviants by labeling those who have been apprehended as different

  • Self-fulfilling prophecy
  • Example: “Spurters”
other symbolic interactionist views differential association theory
Other symbolic interactionistviewsDifferential Association Theory

Interaction with others teaches individuals:

  • values and attitudes associated with crime
  • techniques and motivations for criminal behavior

Some say the interaction can be virtual (through video games, movies, music)

What do you think? Can video games or violence in movies increase criminal behavior?

differential association theory
Differential association theory

argue that certain groups or subcultures in society have criminal acts woven into the texture of life

deterrence theory
Deterrence Theory

People commit crimes if the perceived consequences do not outweigh the potential benefit




symbolic interactionism review emphasizes the importance of labels group influence and consequences
Symbolic Interactionism Review emphasizes the importance of labels, group influence, and consequences

Deviance is learned through the groups we interact with and the labels we acquire

Choice is based on cost/benefit assessment

Conflict theory emphasizes how the criminal justice system is controlled by a small group of people who have power
  • Sees the law as an instrument of oppression
  • The law punishes the working class because they have the potential to rebel and overthrow the current social order

Black men in the United States are 6.6 times more likely than white men to be incarcerated. More than 10% of all Black males ages 25 to 39 were in prison or jail as of June 30, 2008. ( April 09)



Whites, Latinos, and Blacks arrested for Marijuana Possession in New York City

Marijuana use among races in the United States

The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse

Source: NHSDA 2000

white collar crime
White Collar Crime

Crimes committed in course of employment

  • Occupational - individuals commit crimes in the course of their employment.
  • Corporate - corporations violate law to maximize profit.

Corporate Crime a form of white-collar crime

In 2002, Firestone executives let faulty tires remain on U.S. vehicles, even though they were recalling the tires in Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

More than 200 Americans died from accidents

Firestone- manufacturing defective tires, Ford- equipping vehicles with tires that were too small

No Firestone or Ford Executive went to jail (Henslin, 2006)


Corporate Crime a form of white-collar crime

Hughes Electronics

Boeing Satellite Systems

2003, two leading U.S. aerospace companies, were accused of illegally exporting missile technology to China.

The technology allowed China to improve its delivery system for nuclear weapons, therefore placing the United States at risk.

The two companies pled guilty and paid fines.

No executives from Hughes or Boeing went to jail. (Henslin, 2006)

conflict theory review
Conflict Theory Review
  • Social inequality leads to crimes as a means of economic survival.
  • Those in power define what is criminal.
  • Law enforcement penalizes those without power (often racial minorities or those of lower socioeconomic status) and benefits those with power.
real world connections
Real World Connections

Read the crime/news incident


Which sociological explanation of deviance best explains the crime?


5 charged in drug ring police call gang related
5 Charged in Drug Ring Police Call Gang-Related

A) Summarize the crime

B) Which sociological explanation of deviance best explains the crime?


bronx woman arrested for illegal breast enlargements
Bronx Woman Arrested for Illegal Breast Enlargements

A) Summarize the incident

B) Which sociological explanation of deviance best explains the crime?


lapd defends officers who shot man during struggle
LAPD Defends Officers Who Shot Man During Struggle

A) Summarize the incident

B) Which sociological explanation of deviance best explains the crime?


grand jury probes what edwards knew about spending
Grand Jury Probes What Edwards Knew About Spending

A) Summarize the incident

B) Which sociological explanation of deviance best explains the crime?


parents of dead mexican teenager sue u s government
Parents of Dead Mexican Teenager Sue U.S. Government

A) Summarize the incident

B) Which sociological explanation of deviance best explains the crime?


juvenile delinquency
Juvenile Delinquency

View: Juvenile Correction Facilities

Juvenile Delinquency

When young people do not have what they need, what types of behaviors may they engage in?

  • Problem alcohol use
  • Problem drug use
  • Criminal acts
  • Violent acts
  • Missing school
  • Low grades in school
  • Unprotected sex
  • Teenage pregnancy

Symbolic Interactionism

Control theory

  • A strong social bond between individuals and society constrains some individuals from violating social norms.
  • Elements of the social bond: (a) Attachment to significant others

(b) Commitment to conventional goals

(c) Involvement in conventional activities

(d) Belief in the moral standards of society


Symbolic Interactionism

Control theory

There are two control systems:

1. inner controls (conscience, morals, ideas of right and wrong)

2. outer controls (people – family, friends)

that work against our tendencies to deviate. If one or more are missing people may commit crimes

take the survey
Take the survey
  • Think back to when you were 8-15 years old
  • How many of the items listed were a part of your life?
  • Check all that applied.
  • Count how many you checked (you will not have to share this number with the class)
  • Star 3 items on External Assets page (regardless of if you had them or not) that you feel are most important in influencing a successful adult life.

40 Developmental Assets

  • Since its creation in 1990, Search Institute’s framework of Developmental Assets has become the most widely used approach to positive youth development in the United States.
  • Background—Grounded in extensive research in youth development, resiliency, and prevention, the 40 Developmental Assets represent the
  • relationships
  • opportunities
  • personal qualities
  • that young people need to avoid risks and to thrive.

40 Developmental Assets

Fit into 2 categories

1. Internal Assets


2. External Assets


40 Developmental Assets

  • The Power of Assets—Studies of more than 2.2 million young people in the United States consistently show that
  • the more assets young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors and the more likely they are to thrive.
  • Assets have power for all young people, regardless of their gender, economic status, family, or race/ethnicity.
  • Levels of assets are better predictors of high-risk involvement and thriving than poverty or being from a single-parent family.
  • The average young person experiences fewer than half of the 40 assets.
  • Boys experience three fewer assets than girls (17.2 assets for boys vs. 19.9 for girls).

Percentage of 6th- to 12th-Grade Youth Reporting Selected High-Risk Behavior Patterns by Level of Developmental Assets*

providing developmental assets
Providing Developmental Assets

Developmental Assetsare basic building blocks of life that all kids need to succeed.

Research with almost 3 million young people in North America shows that these assets play a powerful role in helping young people make positive choices, avoid high-risk behaviors, and thrive.

possible solutions
Possible Solutions

QUICK WRITE 3 minutes: Which of the following proposed solutions do you think would be MOST or LEAST effective at reducing crime among youth and adults? Why?

  • Youth programs (boys and girls clubs, after-school activities, high quality pre-school)
  • Community programs (neighborhood watch)
  • Legislative action (increase gun control)
  • Reducing poverty (better education, on the job-training)
  • Alternatives to prison (probation, psychological treatment, house arrest, group therapy)
  • Prison reform (increase occupational training programs)
  • Parental responsibility laws (making parents responsible for delinquent behavior of their children)
  • Better law enforcement (strictly enforced curfews or focus on combating street gangs)
  • Juvenile boot camps (scared straight approach)
  • Parenting Training (parenting classes, resources, counseling)
  • Decriminalization of some laws for adults (drug use, gambling, prostitution)
review research methods
Review research methods

Select a topic

Literature Review

Research design/ Methods

Collect data

Code data

Results and discussion

Inform Others

survey questions
Survey Questions

Developing Strong Survey and/or Interview Questions. 1. Read the questions. 2. Write the mistake made 3. For those questions that you feel are weak, re-word the question on the line below to improve it. Types of questions to avoid:Double barreled questionsSensitive questionsThreatening questionsLeading/loaded questionsRespondent unlikely to be able to answer correctlyUnclear questions

coming up
Coming up
  • Due next week: Paper 1 read details on website
  • Read ch 7 and 13
  • Turn in your survey questions assignment from last week before leaving

Types of Crime

1) Index crimes (street crimes) 2 types:

types of crime
Types of Crime

2) Vice crimes (non-violent)

  • Drug use
  • Prostitution
  • Gambling

3) White collar crime

4) Organized crime

5) Computer crime

6) Juvenile delinquency

computer crimes
Computer Crimes
  • Any law violation in which a computer is the target or means of criminal activity.
  • One of the fastest growing crimes in U.S.
  • Hacking - unauthorized computer intrusion.
  • Identity theft - stealing of someone else’s identification to obtain credit.