Patterns of crime

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  • Created by: Tom
  • Created on: 13-04-14 19:35

young people convicted more than old people

Young people are convicted of more crime than older people

  • most crime committed by teenagers. Peak age for criminal activity 18 for men, 15 for women
  • argued young people commit more crime because their lifestyles take them to environments where crime takes place. Vast majority of crime is property theft. Young people likely in bars/streets where pickpocketing + mugging takes place
  • young people also more likely to be victims of crime. 16-25 seven times more likely to be a victim of crime than someone 75 or older. It's not age, but being in an environment where crime occurs.
  • young people may commit more crime, or they may just get caught more. Young crime is typically more visible, e.g vandalism. White collar crimes such as fraud are more likely to cimmitted by older people, but these offenders are more hidden
  • social stereotypes that you people commit more crime leads to police suspecting and monitoring young people - increases their chance of being caught
  • Young people are more likely to be convicted once in court - partly because they can't afford expensive lawyers' fees. 
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men convicted of more crime than women

  • women make up only 6% of the British prison population(HM prison service)
  • 58% of male prisoners released are re-convicted within 2 years
  • 2001 - 167 per 10,000 of male population found guilty or cautioned for an offence, 3.7 per 10,000 for females
  • men are suspected, charged and convicted of all crimes more than women - crosses all social factors
  • subcultural theories of Miller(1962) and Merton(1968) argue that culture + lifestyle of young men encourage and lead to crime
  • Heidensohn(1986) - feminist - gender socialisation prompts men to be more aggressive. Women are socialised into not being criminal.
  • Abbott and Wallace(1990) - young women are closely watched by families and given less freedom, reducing opportunities for crime
  • Ian Marsh(1986) - men commit more crime because they have more opportunities to do so. Where females have equal opportunity as men to commit crime, they are less likely to do so.
  • May be underestimation of female crime as police+courts less likely to suspect women or give them a custodial sentence
  • Stereotype of men as criminal, acts as a form of sexism - allows female activity to go unwatched
  • Campbell(1981) - did a self report study which unearthed a lot more female crime than official statistics reported. However, did include more trivial crimes.
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urban areas have more crime than rural areas

  • Home Office report 2003/4 - urban police recorded 43% of all crime
  • 2002 - less than 2% of people in rural areas victims of robbery
  • 2003-4 60% of all robbery took place in 3 urban areas(London, Manchester, West Midlands)
  • There's more crime in cities - more opportunity
  • Higher density = more chances for robbery and property crime
  • hard for criminals to remain anonymous in close-knit rural areas
  • Inner City - 15.3% all vehicle theft, 5.3% all burglary, 5.8% all violent vrime
  • Urban(towns/outer city) - 1/03% all vehicle theft, 3.3% all burglary, 4.4% all violent crime
  • All non rural(cities, towns, suburbs) 10.8% all vehicle theft, 3.6% all burglary, 4.6% all violent crime
  • Rural 6.5% all vehicle theft, 1.9% all burglary, 2.7% all violent crime
  • All households/all adults 9.7% all vehicle theft, 3.2% all burglary, 4.1% all violent crime
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most criminal convictions - people with w/c backgr

  • more w/c people in prison than any other social class
  • majority of people who appear in court are w/c
  • subcultural theoriests such as Miller argue this reflects w/c subcultures which often see crime as an accepted or rewarded activity
  • Marxists - system of law run by ruling class, against interests of w/c. Parts of the w/c are criminalised by a biased system
  • m/c crime treated leniantly by society
  • fraud and whitecollar crime often undetected and seen as victimless by society
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ethnic minority background = higher arrest+convict

Ethnic minority background increases your chances of arrest and conviction


  • Police racism results in higher suspicion rates against black people
  • Macpherson Report(1999) - concluded police institutionally racist
  • Hal et al and Gilrey(1987) - young black people have been labelled as criminal by modern British society and have become a scapegoat for social problems
  • high levels unemployment among oung black men leads to opt out of mainstream society
  • Right realist sociologists favour subcultural explanation
  • ethnic minority households more at risk of crime than other households - more likely to be mugged/robbed/cehicle theft
  • Pakistani/Bangladeshi more likely to be burgled
  • Ethnic minority respondents more worried about crime than whites(BCS, 2000)
  • only 23% report crime was solved in 2003. Social profile of those who committed unsolved/undetected crime could change patterns considerably
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