assess the view that environmental approaches fully explain crime and deviancy

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Assess the view that environmental approaches fully explain crime and deviancy increases (21)
Environmental approaches focus on the relationship between environment and behaviour for
example the neighbourhood status and home ownership may be used as a means to compare
inequalities. More specifically environmental criminology is concerned with criminal events and
the immediate circumstances in which they occur by mapping the spatial distribution of offenders
and offences. It is argued by this approach that criminal behaviour is significantly influenced by the
environment in which it occurs, this will be explored and evaluated in more depth.
The perspective in which the environment of the criminal activity is a major influence arises can be
supported by the study conducted by Shaw and McKay who found varying delinquency rates in
Chicago which were dependent on zones these radiated outwards in concentric circles from the
Central Business District (CBD). They argued that zone 1 had the highest rate of delinquents
because it is characterised by a high population turnover and mixture of different cultures, this is
called the zone of transition. They concluded that the zones of transition had social
disorganisation (law social cohesion and little sense of community) making it popular for deviants.
This is further supported by the work of Morris who suggested that a key factor in concentrations
in delinquencies in certain areas was linked to the local councils housing policies which meant that
there was a greater opportunity to commit crime in that particular area less crime occurs further
away from the CBD as individuals can afford to be privatised e.g. fences secluding their homes and
house alarms. This can be developed by Baldwin and Bottoms who clarified the impact of local
authority housing decisions and referred to the difference as the result of a process called tipping
tipping is the process where an area moves from being predominantly law abiding to
predominantly accepting of antisocial behaviour. This can be applied to the council estate in
Rowner which is one of the fifth most deprived areas in the country. Next door is Alverstoke which
is one of the fifth least deprived (this is also an example of postcode poverty). There is a lot of
crime on the estate and individuals living there can expect to earn less and die younger.
Shaw and McKay argued that amongst some groups in the most socially disorganised and poorest
zones in Chicago, crime became culturally acceptable and was passed on from one generation to
the next as part of the normal socialisation pattern. Successful criminals provide role models for
the next generation by demonstrating that a criminal career was possible e.g. gang in Rowner had
members of various ages and encouraged everyone including younger members to vandalise as it
was seen as `having fun'.
In contrast right realism argues that the root cause of crime is biology and poor socialisation as
people make a rational choice to commit crime; the environment is not the main influence. The
solution to this issue is more formal social control such as harsher prison sentences, zero tolerance
policies and more policing. Murray argues that most crime is committed by the underclass
(unemployed). A recent upsurge in lone parent families has led to poor socialisation (lack of ideal
role models) and encouraged these people to be welfare dependent. In order to tackle crime it
should be made less attractive to criminals (formal control). A criticism is that the underclasses are
scapegoated as deviant. Additionally by increasing policing the civilianpolice relationship may be
strained and trust issues between each other may arise e.g. street attack on police officer resulting
in a fractured leg in North Wales (2015)
The majority of estates have a mixture of people from different backgrounds and with different
forms of behaviour. Offensive behaviour of the antisocial minority is restrained by the informal

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social control imposed by the majority of residents. Despite this, the antisocial minority may
increase in number and due to their behaviour, the law abiding families are driven away. This
means that there is a reduction in informal social control. Those who wish to live in the estate
tend to be relatives of the antisocial families which causes a speed up in the law abiding residents
leaving.…read more

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It can be argued that although lower classes may be relatively deprived, due to globalisation and
access to the internet an online criminal career is possible. This means that regardless of the
environment, criminal activity is possible anywhere. Transnational crime is possible because
greater communication and travel have made the drugs industry (for example) extend beyond
national boundaries due to the demand from Western countries.…read more


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