Environmental approaches to crime

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  • Created by: charl_w
  • Created on: 02-02-16 18:51
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  • Environmental approaches: Explaining offenders in terms of their locations
    • Shaw and McKay: Chicargo School
      • i) The pattern
        • 1. Chicago was a fast growing city.
        • 2. S&M began plotting the location of the addresses of those who committed crimes in the city.
        • 3. They divided the city into 5 concentric zones, in each of the 5 zones they identified it had different levels of offenders.
        • 4. Zone 2 nearest the city centre had the highest rate of crime.
        • 5. S&M found the population in zone 2 changed regularly.
          • 6. This meant there was something about the zones that were linked to crimes rather than the individual that lived there.
      • ii) The explanation: Social disorganisation
        • 1. S&M suggested that as each wave of immigrants arrived in the city they moved to the cheapest areas.
          • 2. Known as the zone of transmission.
        • 3. Over time, some were successful and moved to more affluent suburbs, while the least successful stayed.
        • 4. The places of those who moved were taken by new immigrants so the process started again.
        • 5. This pattern of high population turnover created a state of social disorganisation.
      • iii) Cultural Transmission
        • 1. S&M altered the meaning of social disorganisation to refer to a set of values that provided an alternative to those of mainstream society.
        • 2. This became known as Cultural Transmission theory.
        • 3. They argued that amongst the cities most socially disorganised and poorest zones in the city, crime became culturally acceptable.
        • 4. Crime was passed from one generation to the next as part of the normal socialisation pattern.
        • 5. Successful criminals became role models and showed the normality of criminal behaviour and a criminal career was possible.
    • Differential association
      • 1. Sutherland and Cressey criticised Shaw and Mckay by saying the theory was vague and difficult to prove.
      • 2. Because of this, they introduced the concept of differential association.
      • 3. This states that a person is likely  to become criminal if they interact with others who support lawbreaking, they are likely to do so themselves.
      • 4.In order to avoid criticism, Sutherland suggested that these definitions vary.
        • Frequency- the number of times it happens. Duration- over what length of time. Priority- what stage in life and intensity.
    • Housing policies (Morris)
      • 1. Morris argues against Shaw and Mckay- no evidence that people in areas of high delinquency held a coherent set of values that differed from mainstream society.
        • 1. S&M altered the meaning of social disorganisation to refer to a set of values that provided an alternative to those of mainstream society.
      • 2. Morris suggested that a key factor in the concentration delinquents in a certain area was linked to housing policies.
      • 3. In Morris' study of local housing policies in Croydon, the council housed problem families together.
        • 4. This meant that these areas became high crime areas.
      • The impact of housing decisions was later clarified by Baldwin and Bottom who compared two housing estates.
        • Baldwin and Bottom
          • 1. One of the estates studied called 'Gardenia' had a 300% higher number of offenders and 350% higher number of offences compared to 'Stonewall" estate.
          • 2. This was the result of a process that he named Tipping.
          • The process of Tipping:
            • Balanced community with low crime. Law abiding majority control minority of anti social families.
              • Shift in balance with outflow of successful replaced with anti social groups.
                • Unbalanced community. Remaining law abiding citizens are trapped due to poverty/age. Minority of law breakers grow in size.
                  • This results as reputation as a tough area. Law abiding majority are scared to confront anti social behaviour.
          • Disorder
            • 2. W.G Skogan suggests social control breaks when a combination of physical combination in local buildings and social disorder in the form of public i.e drinking increases.
            • 3. This leads to a situation of disorder which has three consequences:
              • It undermines informal social control and undermines bonds between people. It generates neighbourhood safety and causes law abiding people to move out of the area.
  • 1. Slogan disagrees with the idea of tipping.


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