Sociological Theories of Crime
Sociological Theories of Crime CJ 100
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Erica Kugler on Friday February 20, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to CJ 100 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Douglas Klutz in Spring2015. Since its upload, it has received 284 views. For similar materials see Intro to Criminal Justice in Criminal Justice at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.
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Date Created: 02/20/15
Sociological Theories of Crime 0 Sociology study of group behavior and relationships 0 Focuses on forces outside an individual s control I Relating to crime forces beyond a person s control contributes to crime 0 Sociological theory looks at groups society social environments I Looks at the whole picture rather than just one individual Environmental Criminology Concerned wcrime as a whole rather than individual crimes Central focus is on OPPORTUNITY to commit crime Most theories explain opportunity as being secondary in importance for causing crimes 0 It s secondary bc offenders selfmotivation to break the law is the primary crime factor Crime prevention reduce opportunities for crime gt decrease the crime rate 0 Goal of reducing opportunities make crimes harder to commit o Preventing crime by limiting available opportunities is easier than trying to reform a criminal s behavior Broken Window Theory Part of environmental criminology Introduced byJames Q Wilson and George Kelling Built on the Uni of Chicago s quotSocial Disorganization Theory 0 Key argument apathy vs upkeep o Apathy lots of apathy gt higher crime rate I Cities with abandoned and dilapidated buildings w broken windows is a sign of apathy toward maintaining a clean neighborhood Those areas are more prone of crime and violence 0 Upkeep lots of upkeep gt lower crime rate I Try to keep neighborhoods and the social sphere in general well maintained Shows that people care about those areas and their upkeepactions serve as a deterrence against crime 0 leaving minor crimes unchecked will eventually lead to more frequent and bigger crimes 0 Research testing of this theory 0 Lowell MA I upkeep places had less police calls I Nonupkeep places had more police calls 0 NYC NY I Enacted a zerotolerance policy for minor offenses 0 Results rates of petty and serious crimes decreased Routine Activity Theory 0 Part of environmental criminology 0 Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson 0 Core of theory ppl make choices but they cannot choose choices available to them 0 3 elements to the theory 0 Motivated offenders gt criminals 0 Suitable targets gt empty house unlocked cars 0 Capable guardians gt police locks security systems 0 motivated offenders must come in contact wsuitable targets in absence of capable guardians all three elements must cooccur for crime to be present Suitable targets and capable guardians seen as core dimensions of crime opportunity 0 helps to explain variation in crime based on variation in suitable targets and capable guardians 0 Summary of Routine Activity Theory 0 Supply of suitable targets and presence of capable guardians are part of everyday routine activity 0 Crime increases in society bc of changes in the way people live NOT by the emergence of psychological or biological factors 00 Anomie Theory 0 Focuses on explaining why some societies have higher crime rates than others 0 Robert Merton o Theorized that the US places a strong emphasis on the goal of monetary success but places a weak emphasis on the legitimate norms of achieving that goal I Thus individuals are more likely to purse monetary success by whatever means necessary ie crime 0 Societies that fail to set norms for achievement of a goal are in a state of anomie or normalness I Failure to regulate goalseeking behavior state of anomie
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