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Chapter 3. Understanding Crime and Victimization. What is Crime? . Violent crime Gang violence Serial and mass murder Terrorism Intimate violence Substance abuse Economic crimes White-collar crime Organized crime. What Is a Crime Theory?.

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Presentation Transcript
slide1

Chapter 3

Understanding Crime and Victimization

slide2

What is Crime?

  • Violent crime
  • Gang violence
  • Serial and mass murder
  • Terrorism
  • Intimate violence
  • Substance abuse
  • Economic crimes
  • White-collar crime
  • Organized crime
slide3

What Is a Crime Theory?

  • A general statement or set of statements that explains many different facts by reference to underlying principles and relationships.
  • A statement that organizes a set of concepts in a meaningful way by explaining the relationship among the concepts.
slide4

Rational Choice Theory (Because They Want to)

  • Rational choice theorists separate the reasons people become criminals and the reasons they commit crime. It is possible to have criminal tendencies but choose not to commit crime because conditions are not right.
slide5

Rational Criminals and Rational Crimes

  • Rational criminals may decide to forgo or desist from illegal behavior
  • Rational choice is a function of a person’s perception of conventional alternatives and opportunities
    • Rational crime can often be observed in white-collar and organized crime settings
    • Some rationality can be observed even with violent crimes, for example, choosing a target that is close to home or in an area routinely traveled by the victim and perpetrator
slide6

Four Main Types of Crime Tactics in Use Today

  • Increasing the effort needed to commit crime.
  • Increasing the risks of committing crime.
  • Reduce rewards for committing crime.
  • Inducing guilt or shame for committing crime.
slide7

Biological Theories (Because They are Different)

  • Biological throwbacks (atavistic or degenerate anomalies)
    • The criminal is a physical and biological throwback to early stages of human evolution that adjusts poorly to modern society and is thrust into criminal activities.
slide8

Biochemical Theories: It’s in their Blood

  • Some biochemical studies suggest that offenders have abnormal levels of organic substances that influence their behavior and in some way make them prone to anti-social behavior.
slide9

Biological Theories: Neurological Abnormalities and Genetic Factors

  • Focus is on the relationship of brain activity to behavior.
    • Impairment of neurotransmitters has been researched for a link to crime:
      • Does the level of dopamine, serotonin, monoamine oxidase and other chemicals relate to aggression?
      • Does ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) lead to antisocial behavior in childhood?
      • See the National Association for Attention Deficit Disorder website
slide10

Biological Theories: Neurological Abnormalities and Genetic Factors (cont.)

  • Nurture (environment) and nature (genetics) have been the focus of much research.
    • Are monozygotic twins more likely to demonstrate similar antisocial behaviors?
    • Are dizygotic twins raised in the same environment likely to demonstrate similar antisocial behaviors?
    • Do adopted children reflect their birth parents’ behavior patterns?
slide11

Psychological Theories (It’s in their Heads)

  • Psychoanalytic Theory – The Disturbed Mind
  • Behavioral Theory – Learning to Commit Crime
  • Cognitive Theory – Developing Criminal Ideas
  • Psychopathic Theory – Personality and Crime
slide12

IQ and Crime

  • Numerous studies link low IQ to violent and aggressive behavior and crime.
    • A Philadelphia-based study found that scores on intelligence tests were the best predictor of violent behavior and could be used to distinguish between groups of violent and non-violent offenders.
    • In Denmark, researchers found that children with a low IQ tended to engage in delinquent behaviors because their poor verbal ability was a handicap in the school environment.
    • In a longitudinal study of Swedish youth, low IQ measures taken at age three were significant predictors of later criminality over the life course.
slide13

Sociological Theories

  • It is unlikely that crime patterns and trends can be explained by biological or psychological factors alone. Official, self-report, and victim data all indicate social patterns in crime rates. Sociologist Emile Durkheim concluded that crime was an essential part of society and a function of its internal conflict.
slide14

Social Structure Theory: Because They’re Poor

  • The focus of these theories is a stratified society and the unequal distribution of wealth and status as causes of crime.
    • Disorganized neighborhoods and crime
    • Deviant values and subcultures and crime
    • Inability to achieve social success and crime
    • Poverty and crime
slide15

Disorganized Neighborhoods and Crime

  • Some crime experts believe that crime is a product of neighborhoods that are characterized both by physical deterioration and by conflicting values and social systems.
    • Major sources of informal social control (family, school, neighborhood, civil service) are broken and ineffective.
    • Urban areas are believed to be crime-prone because their most important social institutions cannot function properly.
    • The establishment of deviant values and cultures may be a form of adaptation to disorganized neighborhoods that also leads to criminal behavior.
slide16

Social Process Theories

  • Crime results from socialization in family life, the educational experience, and institutions in society.
  • Criminal behaviors, attitudes and values can be taught.
  • Associating with deviant peers also exerts tremendous influence on behaviors, attitudes and beliefs.
slide17

Learning Theories

  • Advocates hold that people enter into a life of crime when, as adolescents, they are taught the attitudes, values and behaviors that support a criminal career.
    • Learning crime techniques comes from a variety of intimates, including parents and family members.
  • Differential Association Theory is the best-known example of learning theory.
slide18

Control Theory

  • The nucleus of social control theory stems from observations that in high school there are people who seem detached and alienated from almost everything and everyone. They do not care about school, they have poor relationships at home and even though they may hang with a tough crowd, their relationships with their peers are superficial and often violent. It is these same people who often get into trouble at school, have run-ins with the police and are involved in drugs and other antisocial behaviors.
slide19

Developmental Theories

  • Seek to identify, describe and understand the developmental factors that explain the onset and continuation of a criminal career.
    • Why do some offenders persist in criminal careers while others desist from or alter their criminal activities as they mature?
    • Why do some people continually escalate their criminal involvement while others slow down and turn their lives around?
    • Are all criminals similar in their offending patterns or are there different types of offenders and paths to offending?
slide20

Life Course Theory

  • Criminality is a dynamic process that is influenced by a multitude of individual characteristics, traits and social experiences.
  • The process of “living life” provides for changing perception and experiences and, as a result, behavior changes, sometimes for the worse.
  • Crime is one among a group of antisocial behaviors that cluster together in some people’s lives.
  • “Age Graded Theory” focuses on turning points in a criminal career.