Crime and Deviance Theme 6 - Left Realism and Crime


Left Realism and Crime

  • Victims of crime are more likely to be poor and powerless 
  • Police concentrate on the disadvantaged of society
  • Causes of crime are relative deprivation, marginalisation and subcultures 
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Relative Deprivation

  • The disparity between the high expectations of individuals and the reality of whta they can achieve/have compared to others
  • Can cause frustration and people turn to crime to solve this
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  • When certain groups feel 'on the edge' of society
  • They lack the formal organisations to express their interests and often resort to violence and rioting to get their point across
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  • Relatively deprived groups who adopt a certain lifetsyle to deal with their situations
  • Turn to crime to release their frustration
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Solutions to Crime

  • Improving policing - police success lies in improving relationships with the community. The piblic should have more say in shaping policing. The police need to get their priorities straight and address under-policd areas such a racial assault than other over-policed areas such as drinking 
  • Introduction of youth clubs and leisure centres - brings the community together and keeps youths out of trouble and away from forming subcultures
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The Square of Crime 1

  • Crime is rooted in social inequalities and only when these inequalities are addressed will crime be reduced - through leisure facilities for young people, improving living standards in poorer areas and reducing unemployment 
  • Left Realists believe that their theory can help understand the entire range of crime by combining structure and action 
  • To truly understand crime, we need to understand the 'square of crime'                                                                           

                         STATE                        OFFENDER                             

PUBLIC                      VICTIM            

  • Left Realism argues that crime is caused by and can be solved by several different factors. this is called multiple aetiology
  • It is important to understand all aspects of crime by drawing together a number of different agencies in the community who will work together to solve crime. This lies in restorative justice - reparation, mediation and reintegrative shaming
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The Square of Crime 2

  • The State decides what is and is not a criminal. It is important to consider them when explaining crime, as all crimes happen in the context of the state
  • The Offender  is important to consider why people offend. Left Realists argue more research is needed into the trajectory of crime - to understand why people drift in and out of criminal behaviour (David Matza)
  • The Public is important to understand what factors influence public attitudes and repsonses to crime? This links with the media, as it has the ability to shape public perceptions of what is a criminal
  • The Victim decides whether a crime has taken place. What makes them vulnerbale in a macro (their position in society) and a micro (their relationship to the offender) sense?
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  • Explores the role of the victim in more depth
  • Offers an alternative to existing theories of crime 
  • Revived useful concepts such as 'relative deprivation'                                                                                                                                                                   
  • However, it only focuses on vitcims in areas where the crime rate is high. which gives a misleading figure of how harmful crime is 
  • Fails to consider corporate crime 
  • They fail to explain why some who experience relative deprivation commit crime whilst others who experience it do not
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