Sociology Unit 2 Crime and

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Crime and Deviance

Crime - Refer to acts that break the law

Deviance - Acts that do not conform to societys values and norms. ( different acts are regarded as deviant in different places) Eg Turning up naked for work is deviant but being naked on a nudist beach is acceptable. 

An act is regarded as deviant based on

  • Place
  • Society 
  • culture
  • period of time
  • who commits

Why do we conform in society:

People are encouraged to conform by social contorl, informal social controls (family, friends etc) and formal social control which are based on enforcement and rewards, (Police and courts) 

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How is Crime Measured?

For crime to reach the official statistics it has to:

  • Be reported to the police 
  • The police have to record the crime, depending on the amount of evidence available, the police may not record it.

Do the offical statistics represent the crimes commited? 

Probably not! only a small percentage of crime is reported. Petty crime ( vandilism shop lifting) are often left unreported or failed to be detected. This leads sociologists to believe that there is a dark figure of crime ( the crimes that aren't reported) 

Self report surveys and victim surveys

Self report surveys - Asked if they have commited any crime (annonymous) (people may not know they have commited  crime eg eating sweets from pick n mix as you go)

Victime survey - Large scale survey which is carried out by the government. People are interviewed and asked about crimes commited against them. (This can be seen as uneffective as people may not talk about the subject as it is too sensitive) 

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Who are the Criminals?

Criminality is related to: age, gender, class and locality.

  • People aged between 14-20 are most likely to commit a criminal offence
  • Males are 5 times more like to commit a crime than females
  • The working class youths have a crime rate that is 8 times bigger higher than the middle class
  • African Caribeans have the highest crime rate amoungst ethnic groups and Asians the lowest
  • Crime rates are significantly higher in inner city areas.

But there is biases in the Law enforcement police often discriminate between:

  • Young people
  • The working class
  • African Caribeans
  • Males

The police will often lable them as criminally minded so keep them under greater surveilance.

In 1999 the police were viewed as being institutionally racist in the Stephen Lawrence case.

Chivalry Thesis suggests that courts and police are sexists and treat women more leniently. 

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Sociological Explanations

Poor socialisation - Things like poor parenting, trouble with family life not having both parents around (no dad for boys can lead to anti social behaviour), violence and alcohol and drug use.

Ethnicity - Black youths often form gangs engaging in violent and other criminal acts. Negative labeling towards black people can often result in a self fufilling prophecy. 

Gender - Males are more likely to commit crime. Males think of themselves as the breadwinner which makes them more likely to steal so they can support their families. Men have fewer socials controls on them so they are higher up in work giving them opportunities to commite whit collar crimes.

Peer groups and sub cultures - May be in a peer group that supports criminal and deviant acts.

Lack of opportunity - Not getting success through legitimate means for example if teenagers cant get work due to poor GCSE's then they turn to criminal acts. 

Unequal class based society - The system encourages selfishness and greed, having the latest thing.

Lack of deterrence - New rights believe that the police are too soft whcih leads to situations where they arent dettered 

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Government Attempts to Battle Crime

Anti-Social-Behaviour-Orders (asbos) - Often regarded as a badge as honour, over half are breeched by under 18's.

Violent crime reduction act - Banned the sale of knives to under 18's

Dispersal Orders - Allows the police to be able to disperse groups of two or more that pose a threat to the public.

Knife amnesty - Leaving bins outside police stations where you can drop a knife off anonymously

Equality act 2010 - Equal treatment to all people no matter what.

Neighbourhood watch - Voluntry movement where people of towns and villages can do something about small crimes.

CCTV - Surveilence and detection of offenders.

Probabtion - Alternative to prison where a person has to meet regularly with an officer to track their progress.

Custodial sentences - Prison time

Community service - A person found to commit a crime does something helpful for society with no charge 

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