My Criminology Topics

  • Created by: Clare
  • Created on: 09-06-15 10:52

Serial Killing

  • Serial killing is the rarest form of homicide where the killer murders 3 or more people, previously unknown to them with a cooling off period in between.
  • The typical serial killer is male (91%), white (51%) and has a low IQ.
  • Serial killers are responsible for 2/3 unresolved homicides per year.
  • Media enhances interest on serial killers, films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre show them as a psychopath and the dangers of this.
  • Prentkey 1989- 86% serial killers had violent sex fantasies, which act as an external drive for the murder. Many serial killers faced childhood abuse and traumas.
  • Dr Shipman is an example of a serial killer.
  • Types of serial killer: visionary (voices in head), missionary (rid society of a certain group), hedonistic (gain from killing) and power and control (often a saddist).
  • explanations- social factors, psychological factors, mental health and desires.
  • sociological explanations- media encourage them to gain celeb status, provides frameworks and motivations and opportunity structure. An example of this is Thomas Quick who made up a range of murders from 1997.
  • Leyton 1986- murdering people who go against social norms, desires and ambitions.
  • Katz 1998- good vs evil, angry, kills to rid humiliating experiences.
  • Victims are often socially isolated or are a 'burden' to society.
1 of 12

Anti-Social Behaviour

  • Includes littering, underage drinking, noise, vandalism, begging.
  • 9 year old biy got one for bouncing on his trampoline as he could see into his next door neighbour's garden.
  • A 27 year old woman got one for gardening in her bikini, her neighbours kept a log of everytime she answered her door in her bikini.
  • Home Office 2013- 2.3 million incidents in 2012/13.
  • ASB doesn't show on crime statistics.
  • Crime and Disorder Act 1998 created ASBOs.
  • Home Office 2012, more than 21,000 orders issued since 1999.
  • 57.3% of people broke their order at least once, 42.9% breached more than once, 38.7% resulted in a custodial sentence which questions the effectiveness.
  • NAO 2006: 65% people stopped behaving antisocially after one intervention.
2 of 12

Crime and Young people

  • Youth Justice Sytem- aim to prevent young people from offending.
  • 1850s Parliamentary Select Committee on Rights of the Child- no parent can raise their kid up to be a criminal.
  • UN Committee on Rights of the Child 2008- youth inprisonment should be a last resort, it is not being used as this as the inprisonment of youths increased by 90% from 1993.
  • Criminal Justice Act 1982- called for more punitive policies and victorian values.
  • Before the 90s they treated young people better.
    -Goldson 1999- it was more of a deterrent.
  • 1990 White Paper- parents have most influence in kids so should make them more law abiding.
  • Muncie 2002- responsibilising parents is important.
  • Bulger case 1993 called for more punitive policies.
    -Blair 1993- tough on crime, tough on causes of crime- kids got one repremand before going to court.
    -Major 1993- we need to punish more and understand less.
  • Crime and Disorder Act 1998- created ASBOs and kids aged 10 could get a criminal record, created parenting orders.
  • Gelsthorpe 1998- war on crime became war on parents.
  • West and Farrington 1973- kids with 4+ siblings by aged 10 were more likely to be criminal.
  • Ghate and Ramella 2002- parenting skills lowered reconviction rates.
  • Holt 2010- parents forced into parenting programs were resistant and angry and little change occured.
  • Home Office 2006: kids mostly commit small scale crimes, 78% of kids had not committed any offence.
  • Skogan 1977- there is a dark figgure of crime due to the low severity of child crime.
  • Soloman and Garside 2008- New Labour's Approach put more kids in prison.
  • Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008- harder for courts to detain kids between 10 and 17.
  • Cameron's 2011 Troubled families Agenda- target families of disadvantaged households, neighbours from hell are the cause of lots of problems in society.
  • CLG 2012- wanted to target 120,000 families.
  • Kennedy 2013- Most young offenders have been in care, faced violence at home and are misusing substances.
  • Dec 2013- only 59 girls in custody.
  • Party Parliamentary Working Group on Women in the Penal System 2009- girls just need support,they were punished more harshly if their behaviour went against traditional stereotypes.
  • Prisons aren't appropriate- high assault rates and many peopke have complex mental, social and educational needs.
  • Clarke 2010- kids should get more community measures.
  • Riots 2011 increased punitiveness- Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 increased curfew time which judges liked.
  • 90% offenders want to stop offending but there are no measures in place.
3 of 12


  • Victims are direct recipients of crime eg. someone who has been burgled.
  • They need victim status to get compensation.
  • Legal definition limits itself to individuals who have been directly subjected to criminal activity.
  • Victims are essential to report crime, act as witnesses and take part in court.
  • Hoyle and Young 2002- for most of the 20th century, victims weren't prominent.
  • Mary Fry 1951 campaigned for victims rights.
  • Media helped promote victimisation i the Moors murders.
  • Victim surveys show extent of victimsatio .
  • What about secondary victims?
  • Rock 1998- immediate family of murdererd, witnesses or people who require them to deal with a traumatic aftermath.
  • Emphasis began in the 90s on victims eg. Straw 1999 wanted to put victims in the heart of the criminal justice system, as did the Queen in her 2002 and 2006 speech, Home Office 2008 wanted to increase victim satisfaction by 2011.
  • Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999- special measures like screening witnesses from accused.
  • Coroners' and Justice Act 2009- victim personal statements.
  • Rock 1991- trials aren't nice for victims.
  • Shapland et al 1985- aggressive cross examination or humiliating treatment of victims.
  • 2007-10, less than half of respondents said they were offered a vps.
  • Goodey 2005- victims voices are frequently ignored when making policie.
  • Hall 2009- some policies accidentally help victims, they may be targetted for other things.
  • Faulkner 2006- victims are supposed to act in a certain way to get victim status.
  • Christie 1986- ideal victim- weak, blameless, doesn't know offender.
  • Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman 2003 got victim status, Patrick Warren and David Spencer didnt. 
  • Naylor 2001- media have a tendency to report violent male crimes rather than female offences.
4 of 12

Biological Explanations

  • Genes hormones and brain structures influences involvement in crime.
  • Physiogonmy- people judge us on our appearence eg. uglier you are, more likely criminal.
  • Phrenology- part of the brain by the ear is responsible for aggression and is overdeveloped in criminals.
  • Lombroso 1893- examined 383 male convicts, 28% had just one trait but 43% had 5+ atavist traits.
  • Female offenders have male traits as females aren't as developed as men.
  • Goring 1913- examined 3000 convicts and non convicts and found no differences in physical measurements.
  • Sheldon 1949- mesmomorphs more likely to be criminals, however some of the criminals he studied hadn't actually committed any serious crimes.
  • Glueck and Glueck 1959- no conbination of physique, character and temprament to decide if someone is criminal.
  • Genes- no criminak gene but identical twins most likely to both be criminal.
  • Rowe 2002- individuals who take sterioids, high sugar foods and lots of carb foods more likely to be criminal due to musclce growth and glucose spikes which can cause aggression, depression, nervousness and outbursts which can lead to criminality.
5 of 12

Sociological Explanations of Crime

  • Beccaria 1764- punishment should match the pleasure the criminal got with pain.
  • Bentham 1791- created the panopticon prison based on surveillance.
  • Durkheim 1897- crime is normal anf functional because it expresses individuality against wrongdoer and reaffirms collective norms. Times of depression create anomie which is when crime rates and suicide rates peak.
  • Merton 1957 strain theory: between wc being able to achieve goals legitimately. Creates conformists, retreatists and rebellions.
  • Cohen 1995- working class boys cant achieve legitimately in a middle class sytem so look for alternative ways to gain and receive status.
  • Cloward and Ohlin 1960- means of achieving illegitimately aren't equal: criminals, conflicts and retreatists.
  • Wilson and Kelling 1982- broken windows.
  • Becker 1963- labelling theory.
  • Lemert 1967- primary and secondary deviance.
6 of 12

Psychological Explanations of Crime

  • Focuses on individual, genes and genetics.
  • Freud 1923- underdeveloped superego creates impulsivity and crime.
  • Haywood s: criminality is the result of childhood traumas.
  • Bandura 1961: Bobo dolls, Skinner's immitation theory.
  • Eyesneck 1967- offenders score high on neuroticism and psychoticism. 
7 of 12

Cultural Criminology

  • Want to understand meanings attached to crime.
  • Merton 1957- strain theory.
  • Cohen 1995- delinquent boys and status frustration.
  • Cloward and Ohlin 1960- means of achieving illegitimately arent distributed equally, retreatists, criminals and conflicts.
  • Cohen 1972- Mods and Rockers, deviancy amplification, folk devils, moral panics.
  • Jock Young also looked at this with drugs in Notting Hill.
  • Media shapes who we see as evil, representations of crime and consructed by media.
  • Katz 1998- breaking law for personal challenge, to escape mundane everyday life.
  • Lying 1990- flirt with danger and edgework.
8 of 12

Gender and Crime

  • Lombroso 1895- women are born crimianls.
  • Freud 1908- women have penis envy.
  • Thomas 1923- women are now freer to engage in criminal activities.
  • Pollak 1950 chivalry thesis.
  • 60s/70s, research was on men, by men.
  • Gender-class theory- Messerschmidt 1986- wommen suffer from male gaze at home and work so less opportunity to offend, Carlen 1990- women are subordinate to men who commit crime more.
  • Power-control theory- Hagan 1987- differences in delinquency rates reflect different socialisations.
  • Liberation Opportunity- Alder 1975- women become more masculine when they start work, women commit survival crimes, Mullens and Wright 2003- men commit crimes to continue partying lifestyle, women commit crimes to protect kids.
  • 80s- criminal women are doubly deviant. Moore 1991- women more likely to have suffered previous abuse and this needs to be addressed.
  • Connel 1995- men act deviant to be macho, Messerschmidt 1993- identity can be a resource for criminality.
  • Murgatroyd 2004- gaps in statitics so we believe men commit more crimes.
  • Walklate 2003- women are revictimised during **** trials.
9 of 12

Ethnicity and Crime

  • Races aren't inherently criminal, hence different crime rates.
  • Hall 1980- policing the crisis- moral panic surrounding black mugging.
  • 1993 Stephen Lawrence case.
  • Sir Paul Condon 1997 didnt believe there was institutional racism in the met.
  • MacPherson report 1997 showed there was institutional racism in the met.
  • Newburn and Hayman 2001- ethnic minorities more likely to stopped and searched than white people. These searches are more likely to be intrusive eg. ***** searches.
  • Ethnic minorities have less faith in CJS due to less standard english, poorer health,and more vulnerable.
  • 31% ethnic minority defendents wanted more ethnic minorities in CJS.
  • Hall 1978; Gillroy 1982- media amplify problems and create moral panics so capitalist problems seem less important.
10 of 12

Media and Crime

  • Crime interests people eg. soaps and documentaries like panorama.
  • Not all stories appear in the paper, they must be deemed as newsworthy like Maddie McCann case.
  • entertainment- tv programs designed to entertain and news reports and papers are in competition with each other. 
  • Chibnall 1977- news values eg. drama, violence, action, sex, intimacy, celebs.
  • media can help generate info eg. Crimewatch, but can create false leads eg. Maddie McCann case has featured and not been solved.
  • Media can affect participation in crime eg. Skinner 1938 immitation theory.
  • Young 1971, Cohen 1972- media amplification, folk devils, moral panics.
11 of 12

Class and Crime

  • 2011 riots- Clarke 2011, most came from the federal underclass, 42% were entitled to free school meals.
  • Bourgeoisie make the rules- keep rich, rich and poor, poor.
  • Bonger- capitalist societies have the most crime as they exploit others.
  • crime isnt punished if it doesnt affect the interests of the bourgeoisie.
  • Chambliss 1975- more focus on crimes of the powerful needed.
  • Quinney 1980- crime is a weapon of the powerful.
  • Left realists eg. Jock Young believe social policy could tackle crime.
  • Crime questions capitalist modes of labour, social conditions of work, patterns of distribution and consumption, process of socialisation and ideology that supports the functioning of a capitalist society
12 of 12


No comments have yet been made

Similar Criminology resources:

See all Criminology resources »See all serial killing resources »