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Chapter 3 - Updated

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Chapter 3 - Updated

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Chapter 3 - Updated

  1. 1. Chapter 3 Introduce Theory: Understanding Crime and Victimization
  2. 2. Introduction Theory conceptualization is difficult for most intro / first year students  We do not expect you to memorize all of them Theory can be a semester long class itself – In our class, we are just introducing theory to you  You will study theory further in:  Intro to Criminology, Research Methods, Senior Seminar… more in Masters / PHD.  Goal for us – as we learn, simply think about the theories, what theory represents your view, which theories seem accurate, which seems flawed…
  3. 3. The Cause of Crime Criminologist (Definition) Social scientists who use the scientific method to study the nature, extent, cause, and control of criminal behavior
  4. 4. Choice Theory People choose to commit crime after weighing the potential benefits and consequences of their criminal act  People will commit a crime if they believe it will provide immediate benefits without the threat of long-term risks If the rewards are great, the perceived risks small, and the excitement high, the likelihood of committing additional crimes increases
  5. 5. Video: Air marshals Choice Theory
  6. 6. Video: Discussion Questions Does having air marshals on airplanes deter crime?
  7. 7. Recap - Choice Theory  Crime is a matter of rational choice, involving a calculated decision made after a motivated offender weighs the potential costs and benefits of illegal activity  The decision to commit a specific crime is a matter of personal decision based on the evaluation of available information  Even predatory street criminals exhibit stealth and planning in their criminal acts
  8. 8. Crime Prevention Situational Prevention General Deterrence Specific Deterrence
  9. 9. Situational Crime Prevention Increase the effort needed to commit the crime  Lighting, fencing, video, “target hardening” Increase the risks of committing the crime Reduce the rewards for committing the crime Induce shame or guilt Reduce provocation Remove excuses
  10. 10. Situational Crime Prevention Situational crime prevention strategies are designed to convince would-be criminals to avoid specific targets If crime is rational, then painful punishment should reduce its future allure Techniques of painful punishment include harsh prisons, long sentences, and stiff fines
  11. 11. General Deterrence If crime is a matter of choice, it follows that it can be controlled by convincing criminals that breaking the law is a bad or dangerous choice to make  General deterrence is designed to make potential criminals fear the consequences of crime  The threat of punishment can convince rational criminals that crime does not pay  Potential criminal fears punishment because they know of someone else who was punished
  12. 12. General Deterrence Inhibiting Factors:  One of the factors that inhibits the deterrent power of the criminal law is the lack of efficiency of the justice system. 80 percent of serious reported crimes do not result in an arrest.
  13. 13. Specific Deterrence Specific deterrence strategies punish known criminals so severely that they will never be tempted to repeat their offenses  Problems with these strategies are that criminals do not fear punishment, and the certainty of arrest and punishment is low  Techniques include death penalty, mandatory sentences, and aggressive policing
  14. 14. Video: Death Penalty Legal Issues Choice Theory
  15. 15. Video: Discussion Questions  In what ways do criminological theories impact whether or not the death penalty is considered acceptable by majority of society?  Do any criminological theories make it acceptable to put someone to death even if it is a painful death?  What is your position on the death penalty? Do you view this as impacted by a criminological theory? Why or why not?
  16. 16. Trait Theories Biochemical Factors Neurological Factors Genetic Factors
  17. 17. Trait Theories Crime is caused (not by choice... but) by inherited and uncontrollable biological and psychological traits:  Intelligence  Body build  Personality  Biomedical makeup Assumes that variation in human physical traits can explain behavior
  18. 18. Biochemical Factors Environmental contaminants has been shown to influence brain functioning and intelligence levels  Some research efforts have linked antisocial behavior to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, food additives, and improper diet Hypoglycemia Excessive levels of testosterone have been linked to violence and aggression
  19. 19. Neurological Factors  Some suspect that the cause of abnormal neurological function is impairment in neurotransmitters, which are chemical compounds that influence or activate brain functions  The presence of brain abnormality causes irrational and destructive behaviors  Research shows that youths with ADHD who grow up in a dysfunctional family are the most vulnerable to chronic delinquency that continues into their adulthood
  20. 20. Genetic Factors Modern bio-criminologists are concerned with the role of heredity in producing crime-prone people  Your genes  Your DNA Minnesota Twin study  Despite growing up separate – display same traits and behaviors
  21. 21. Psychological Theories Psychodynamic Theory Behavioral Theory Cognitive Theory Personality and Crime IQ and Crime
  22. 22. Psychological Theories Psychological theories suggest that criminals may be suffering from a psychological abnormality or stress that has a long history
  23. 23. Psychodynamic Theory Some people encounter problems during their early development that cause an imbalance in their personality  Theorists believe that law violators may have suffered damage to their egos, or superegos, early in their development that renders them powerless to control their impulses
  24. 24. Behavioral Theory View behavior as learned through interactions with others  Behavior that is rewarded becomes habitual  Behavior that is punished becomes extinguished
  25. 25. Video: Violent Crime Theoretical Explanations
  26. 26. Video: Discussion Questions According to the media clip, what are the reasons for the rise in violent crime? How would each theory explain violent crime? What theory of crime BEST explains violent crime?
  27. 27. Cognitive Theory Concerned with the way people perceive and mentally represent the world in which they live  Another area is moral development theory
  28. 28. Personality and Crime Some psychologists view criminal behavior as a function of a disturbed personality structure  Antisocial personality Failure to conform to social norms Deceitfulness Impulsivity Irritability Disregard for safety Irresponsibility Lack of remorse
  29. 29. IQ and Crime Studies link low IQ to violent and aggressive behavior, however there are problems with these studies  The link between intelligence and crime is one of the most enduring controversies in the psychology of crime literature
  30. 30. Sociological Theories Social Structure Theory The Disorganized Neighborhood Social Process Theories
  31. 31. Sociological Theories Place emphasis on environmental conditions  Equate the cause of criminal behavior with social factors, such as poverty and unemployment
  32. 32. Social Structure Theory Suggest that people’s place in the socioeconomic structure influences their chances of becoming a criminal  Poor individual’s are more likely to commit crimes because they are unable to achieve monetary or social success in any other way  Racial disparity The problems of lower-class culture are particularly acute for racial and ethnic minorities
  33. 33. The Disorganized Neighborhood The effects of income inequality, poverty, racism, and despair are a key cause of youth crime and drug abuse
  34. 34. Social Process Theories Social Learning Theory  Suggests that people learn the techniques and attitudes of crime from close relationships with criminal peers  People become violent because they model their behavior after others and have had that behavior positively reinforced Social Control Theory  Maintains that everyone has the potential to become a criminal but that most people are controlled by their bonds to society; crime occurs when the forces that bind people to society are weakened or broken
  35. 35. Agnew’s Sources of Strain and Their Consequences
  36. 36. Social Process Theories Social Reaction / Labeling Theory  Suggests that people become criminals when significant members of society label them as such and they accept those labels as a personal identity
  37. 37. The Labeling Process
  38. 38. Critical Criminology Social Inequality
  39. 39. Critical Criminology Crime in any society is caused by class conflict  Laws are created by those in power to protect their rights and interests One of the theory’s most important premises is that the justice system is biased and designed to protect the wealthy
  40. 40. Developmental Theories Life Course Theory Latent Trait Theory The General Theory of Crime
  41. 41. Developmental Theories Life course theories suggest that events take place over the life course to influence criminal choices  The causes of crime constantly change as people mature  At first the nuclear family influences behavior  In adolescence, the peer group dominates  In adulthood, marriage and career are critical  According to Sampson and Laub, the two most critical turning points in a criminal career are Marriage and Employment
  42. 42. Life Course Theory
  43. 43. Developmental Theories Latent Trait Theory  Suggests that a master trait guides people over the life course The General Theory of Crime  Suggests that impulsive people have low self-control and a weak bond to society; they often cannot resist criminal opportunities
  44. 44. Victimization Theories Lifestyle Theory Routine Activities Theory (We are NOT blaming the Victims) - however - There is some theoretical support for placing oneself in a situation where we can easily become a victim
  45. 45. Theories of Victimization Victim precipitation theory looks at the victim’s role in the criminal incident  Lifestyle Theories Suggest that victims put themselves in danger by engaging in high-risk activities  More Danger: Someone who goes out late at night  Less Danger: Someone married who stays in at night
  46. 46. Theories of Victimization  The Routine Activities Theory Maintains that a pool of motivated offenders exists and that these offenders will take advantages of suitable, unguarded targets  Motivated Offenders  Suitable Targets  Capable Guardians (Includes Police Officers)
  47. 47. Routine Activities Theory
  48. 48. End End of Chapter 3

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