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CJC 102 Week 4 Notes

by: Ben O'Brien

CJC 102 Week 4 Notes CJC 102

Ben O'Brien
GPA 3.697

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About this Document

These notes cover theories of victimization, as well as theories of criminology in general
Introduction to criminology
Dr. Intravia
Class Notes
25 ?




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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ben O'Brien on Saturday February 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CJC 102 at Ball State University taught by Dr. Intravia in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 38 views. For similar materials see Introduction to criminology in Criminal Justice at Ball State University.


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Date Created: 02/06/16
The Nature of Victimization  Social Status o The poorest Americans are most likely to be victims of violent and property crime  This occurs across all gender, age, and racial groups o However, wealthy people tend to fall more victim to pickpockets, purse-snatchers, and white collar criminals  Marital Status o Non-married males and females are victimized more than married people o Widows and widowers have lowest victimization risk o Association between marital status and victimization is influenced by age, gender, and lifestyle  Repeat Victimization o Individuals/households who have been crime victims have higher likelihood of being victims in the future o Factors that predict chronic victimization  Target vulnerability  Target gratifiability  Those who wear expensive accessories are more likely to be victimized  Target antagonism  Aggressive drunks tend to provoke more crime  Victim/Offender Relationship o Males and females are more likely to be victims from someone they know (as opposed to strangers)  Strangers commit 44% of men’s victimization and 27% of women’s  Non-strangers commit 70% of women’s victimizations and 49% of men’s Theories of Victimization  Victim Precipitation Theory o People initiate the confrontation that leads to their injury/death  Gang member provokes other gang member, the former is now injured o Active precipitation  When victims are provocative, threatening, or attack first o Passive precipitation  Occurs when the victims exhibits personal characteristics that unknowingly threatens or encourages the attacker  Deviant Place Theory o The greater the exposure to dangerous places, the more likely to be victimized  Primarily a function of where people live  Makes them easier targets for crime  Lifestyle Theories o Assume an individual’s lifestyle increase their exposure to crime o High-risk lifestyles  Drinking, taking drugs, associating with violent peers, going out frequently late at night  Someone underage with a fake ID, more likely to be victimized o Criminal lifestyles  Ongoing involvement in crime increases victimization  Routine Activities Theory o Cohen and Felson (1979) o Victimization is a reflection of three variables:  A motivated offender  One who plans to commit a crime  A suitable target  Potential victim  An absence of capable guardians  Those who might prevent the victimization – includes barriers (alarms, rocks, etc.) o Victimization risk increases from  Living in high crime areas  Go out late at night  Carry valuables  Engage in risky behavior  Alcohol, drugs  Have no friends/family to help/watch Caring for the Victim  Surveys show that approximately 75% of the US population has been victimized at least once in their lives o Many will suffer financial problems, metal stress, and physical hardship  Victim Compensation o Financial aid awarded to crime victims to repay them for their loss and injuries  May cover medical bills, loss of wages/future earnings, counseling o Victim Advocates  Counselors are assigned to victims to serve as advocates and help them understand the operations of the CJS o Crises intervention  Emergency counseling for victims who feel isolated, vulnerable, and in need of immediate services  Good Samaritan program  Victim-offender reconciliation programs (VORPs)  Mediated face-to-face encounters between victims and their attackers, designed to produce restitution agreements and, if possible, reconciliation  Based on the concept of restorative justice o Good for minor crimes at most o Victim’s Rights  Victim’s Bill of Rights – legal rights for crime victims codified in the laws of every state  Generally include the rights for the victim to  Be notified of proceedings and the status of the defendant  Be present at criminal justice proceedings  Make a statement at sentencing  Be consulted before a case is dismissed or a plea agreement entered  Keep the victim’s contact information confidential Introduction to Theories in Criminology  What are theories? o Goal of criminological research  Construct theories or models that improve our understanding of criminal behavior and help us create effective strategies to deal with crime and related issues o Theories  Explain behaviors, establish logical connections between facts, and predict the occurrence of events  “A kind of controlled fantasy” – R.P. Cuzzort (1989)  Directs our research  Theory Characteristics o Logically consistent  Theory: a set of propositions that put forward a relationship between the categories of events or phenomena we are studying  Concepts: words, phrases, or idea used to explain a category of individuals / certain class of events  The building blocks of research/theory  Concepts should convey the same meaning to everyone  Theories explain the relationship between concepts  Operational definitions: define concepts in such a way that they can be observed and measured o Testable  Hypotheses: Ideas about the world that are derived from theories and that can be disproved when tested against observation  In order to be a good hypothesis that can be tested or studied, a hypothesis:  Needs to be logical  Must use precise language  Should be testable with research or experimentation o Individuals with low self-control are more likely to drink and drive. o Children who are frequently exposed to violent television shows are more likely to commit criminal acts o Exposure to mass media negatively affects public perceptions of the police  Principle of falsification: To be scientific, a theory must lead to testable hypotheses that can be disproved if wrong (Karl Popper)  We can never prove things right, only wrong (falsifiable) o “All frogs are green” – falsifiable  You can find a frog that isn’t green o Valid and Reasonable  Validity: the degree to which a measure actually reflects the phenomenon under study  Reliability: The extent to which a measure is consistent in producing the same results over and over again o Relationships Among Variables  Variable: Concept that can take two or more values  Variables change!  Quantitative variables: Variables that numbers can be attached (e.g. crime rates)  Qualitative variables: Concepts measured through asking about thoughts, feelings, opinions, beliefs (e.g. fear of crime)  Correlation: Degree to which two or more variables are associated with one another  Correlation does not equal causation  Spurious relationship: correlation between variables is eliminated or significantly reduced when another variable is introduced (not originally measured) o Objective  Objectivity: the ability to perceive or describe something without being influenced by personal emotions or prejudices  Ways to achieve objectivity: o Allow the data to contradict personal beliefs (falsification) o Replication – e.g. invite others to replicate the study using a different sample or population Crime as Rational Behavior: Classical and Rational Choice Theories  Three major schools of thought: o Classical School  Neo-classical School o Positivist School o Chicago School  Modern paradigms of criminology o Control o Sub-culture o Strain o Labeling o Critical o Postmodern o Feminist  Early Explanations of Crime o Spiritual  Many events were believed to be influenced from otherworldly powers  Natural disasters such as starvations, floods, and plagues  Responded by performing sacred rites and rituals to appease the spiritual powers o The Middle Ages  Explanations of crime/deviance centered on religious ideas of good/evil  Efforts to control/prevent crime focused on supernatural interventions to remove evil forces in the individual o Exorcism o Sacred rites o Harsh/severe punishments directed at the evil forces o Surgical penetration of the skull  In Europe, crime was largely a private affair  Victim or victim’s family obtained revenge o Blood feuds  Trial by ordeal o Accused subject to difficult/painful tests o The innocent (protected by God) would emerge unharmed  Guilty would die a painful death  Tie up an accused witch and throw in water  Make people walk on fire o The Enlightenment (Age of Reason)  Philosophical movement challenging existing social institutions  Focus on intellectual reasoning and scientific inquiry  Significantly impacted moral and social reform  Encouraged the use of logic, reason, fairness, and justice  Weakened the influence of religion  Fate was in the hands of each individual – personal choices defined human destiny  Principles of Classical Theory o Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794)  Free Will: the capability of making rational choices and calculated decisions found in all individuals  Weigh costs and benefits of courses of action, including crime  Crime = expected benefits > outweigh the potential consequences  To reduce crime, the punishment for crime must outweigh the potential gain/reward for it  “On Crimes and Punishments” (“Dei deliti e delle pene”)  Rational behavior is predictable and can be controlled by punishment  For punishment to effectively deter crime, it must be: o Swift  If you wait too long to punish someone, they won’t be as deterred to commit crimes in the future o Certain  You have to do what you say you will do o Severe (proportionate to the crime) o Jeremy Bentham (1784-1832)  People calculate rewards and risks when deciding how to act  Hedonism: human nature is governed by the desire to maximize pleasure and minimize pain  Everyone is rational and will weigh the pain caused by punishment against the benefit/pleasure of a criminal act  Goal of punishment should be deterrence  Human beings are in constant dialogue with themselves – wighing the possible consequences of their actions before following through with their behavior  Values associated with a sensation is governed by  Intensity: the degree to which the act is pleasant/painful  Duration: how long the sensation lasts  Certainty: the probability that the act will happen  Immediacy: the closeness between act and associated pleasure/pain  Paradigms of Classical School o Rational Choice  Situational Choice Theory  Routine Activities Theory  Retained the Classical School concept of free will  However, recognized that certain circumstances may affect the exercise of personal choice  Criminals evaluate the total circumstances before choosing to engage in crime which include o Personal circumstances - experiences, needs, desires o Situational factors – type of security barriers o Risk of getting caught – seriousness of expected punishment o Value of expected yield – gains, benefits, peer approval  Decision to commit crime is influenced by two things: o Offense specific – offenders react selectively to the characteristics of particular crimes  Example – robbing a bank  Probability of security devices/police patrol  Getaway vehicle  Disguise to be identified  Ease of obtaining money and valuables  Presence of occupants  Escape routes o Offender specific – offenders must decide whether they have the prerequisites to commit a successful criminal act  Example – robbing a bank  Skills to successfully commit the act (including physical ability)  Need for money  Other alternatives (non- criminal) to obtain the money  Fear of getting caught and punished o Deterrence Theory


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