Criminology Week 2 Notes
Criminology Week 2 Notes Soci 288
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Melanie Kopriva on Sunday September 25, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Soci 288 at Northern Illinois University taught by Michael Ezell in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Criminology in Sociology at Northern Illinois University.
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Date Created: 09/25/16
Defenses to Criminal Liability Justification: Act was allowed o No actus reus Duress – there was human force E.g. someone holding you hostage unless you do something Necessity- non-human force E.g. need to break in because of bad weather that could be harmful Self-defense Excuse: Lacking criminal intent o No mens rea Entrapment- police plant the criminal behavior in your mind Insanity- don’t know the difference between right and wrong behavior Usually unsuccessful If successful, the convicted usually has to go to a mental institution Lacking capacity- lack mental ability to engage in criminal behavior Two types of people- juveniles and people with intellectual disabilities Accident- didn’t mean to commit criminal behavior Ignorance (mistake of fact)- don’t know you’re engaging in criminal behavior(s) Criteria of Causality The more or less likely you have something, the more or less likely for you to commit crime Three main criteria used in determining crime o Association not due to chance X and Y are associated with each other Empirical association o Causal/Temporal Order * X had to precede Y Cross-sectional vs longitudinal Cross-sectional- collect all data at the same time Longitudinal- follow same people over time o Takes more time and money than cross-sectional o Lack of spurious association* Get rid of other possible explanations Measure “control variables” Employ multivariate statistical methods (observational) o * Causes big problems for criminology because it’s hard to control for factors occurring Research Methods Three common research methodologies in Criminology o Randomized experiments E.g. Minneapolis domestic violence Main strength: Causal statements Main weakness: Generalizability, unethical/impossible, artificial o Probability-based observational surveys E.g. Monitoring the future Most commonly used Main strength: Generalizability Main weakness: Criteria of causality, superficial data o Qualitative data E.g. Life in the Gang Main strength: Depth/richness Main weakness: Criteria of causality, generalizability, observer effects Three Ways of Measuring Crime Official data o What people report being done to them o “Comes known to the police” o Data from police, courts, and correction authorities FBI UCR (Unified Crime Reports) Part I: 8 o More data collected o More serious offenses o Homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larsony theft, motor vehicle theft, arson o Strengths National coverage Long-term trends Time, age, race, regions, gender, urban/rural Biased toward serious crimes and serious offenders o Weaknesses Underestimates volume Crimes have to be reported to the police Police do NOT catch offender in most crimes they know about Suspected offender are often NOT ARRESTED (discretion) Police sometimes deliberately distort data (“reclassify”) Counting/hierarchy rule Except in arson, theft and motor vehicle crime NIBRS Changes in norms, police priorities, and police discretion Trends across time may reflect these changes No white collar crimes o Arrest/conviction/incarceration data Self-report offending o Strengths No filtering by the public/police “Dark figure” of crime Biased toward less serious/victimless crimes and less serious offenders o Weaknesses Difficult to estimate trends because: Few nation-wide surveys Few long-term surveys Underestimates serious crime Respondents sometimes underreport serious crime Measures often focus on minor offenses Undersamples serious criminals Usually only juveniles Self-report victimization o Strengths No filtering by public/police “Dark figure” of crime NCVS (National Crime Victimization Survey): trends since 1973 Time Age Gender Race Urban/rural o Weaknesses Focus on only a few violent and property crimes No crimes against businesses No white collar crimes Undersamples groups with high rates of victimization Some people may not report some victimizations (e.g. abuse) Victim often does not see offender (e.g. property crimes) Other measurement issues o Prevalence and incidence Prevalence: Percent of a group committing a crime at least once Incidence: Average (mean) rate of commission o Numbers vs rates Rates = standardized For example: in 1991, there were 3859 homicides in California, and 720 in Louisiana. CA rate is 12.7 per 100000 LA rate is 16.9 per 100000