Theories of crime and deviance

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  • Created on: 10-11-20 08:40

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Crime and deviance theories

Highlighted red=critiques

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Functionalist theories

General views;

  • Everyone has one value consensus in society

  • crime serves a collective purpose

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Durkheim - functions of crime

Crime has positive and negative functions

  • Reaffirming the boundaries, changing the law or social solidarity 
  • Collective conscience can be weakened and anomie can occur

Anomie - a sense of normlessness e.g

  • A sudden change of government, A disaster which leads to the destruction of the order or a major economic upheaval


  • Different values due to cultural hybridity  and doesn't explain why crime happens

  • Doesn’t explain differences in deviance between people and doesn't consider the negative effects of deviance on individuals

  • Doesn’t indicate the tipping point of crime and the victim doesn't see the crime as positive

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Davis - Safety valve

Crime acts as a safety valve to stop worse deviance


Study of prostitutes - His study of prostitution suggests that prostitution can provide men with a ‘safe’ outlet for their sexual desires,

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Merton - strain theory

There is a strain between the socially approved goals and socially approved means e.g. a struggle between success and honesty

5 modes of adaptation

  • Conformity - accepts culturally approved goals and culturally approved means e.g. A normal office worker
  • Innovator - Accepts culturally approved goals but not culturally approved means e.g. achieving money by stealing
  • Ritualism - Doesn't accept culturally approved goals but accepts culturally approved means e.g. a modest worker with no passion
  • Retreatism - Doesn't accept the culturally approved goals or culturally approved means e.g.someone who is homeless
  • Rebellion - Someone who challenges both the culturally accepted goals and the culturally accepted means e.g. someone who joins a religious fundamentalist group
  • Takes official statistics at face value
  • Marxists argue it ignores the power of the bourgeoisie
  • Assumes there is a value consensus in society
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Marxism, neo-marxism and radical criminology theories

General views;

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P Cohen

  • The range of deviant, working-class subcultures are an expression of contradictions within the parent culture
  • Identified a link between the rise of subcultures  and a rise in youth crime
  • This delinquency is a protest against the class situation of the youths

Positives and negatives

  • Explains differences in working-class culture

  • Unlike traditional theories, Working classes aren't portrayed as passive

  • Different groups act differently so it is difficult to use this theory to prevent crime
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Subcultural theories

General views;

·         Thinks crime is forced onto people by social forces e.g. class, gender  

·         Accept the view of the typical criminal - young, male and working-class

·         Focus on the influence of the peer group on criminals


·         Their ideas are from 1940s America. They generalise about working classes - they are not as homogenous (alike) as these theories suggest- there are regional and ethnic variations -intersectionality is a big factor in working-class identity.

·         Marshall - Subculture theory exaggerates difference. Most working-class male youths share the same norms and values as the rest of society and are working towards mainstream goals e.g training, education, saving for a flat etc. Matza - criminals and deviants are just normal members of society -their norms are the same as everyone else’s we are all capable of deviancy and may ‘drift’ in and out of it. 

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A Cohen - status frustration

  • Modified Merton’s strain theory 

  • However, he argued that juvenile delinquency is uniquely non-utilitarian (not committed for profit)

  • He suggested working-class boys rejected mainstream goals to stop status frustration as they couldn’t compete with middle-class boys.

  • They made their own status system by achieving status through deviant and criminal acts.

  • This means they could achieve status over the middle-class boys.


Studied American gangs in the 1950s

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Cloward and Ohlin - illegitimate opportunity struc

3 types of criminal subculture

  • criminal: In an area where there is already a criminal network, where the younger members of society can learn the ‘tricks of the trade’ from the adults, disadvantaged youths join these societies to gain wealth and opportunity through illegitimate means
  • -conflict: In an area where there isn’t an established criminal network, youths may join gangs and small inside societies in the pursuit of letting out frustration from not having class status, such as violent crime
  • -retreatist: in an area where there are no gangs or networks, no illegitimate or legitimate means to gain wealth or status, an individual may turn in on society and turn to drugs, drinking etc.
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Miller - focal concerns

Each class has different values

Working-class boys had 6 main focal concerns

  • Excitement - they seek out excitement when not at work 

  • Trouble - Linked to excitement and toughness, they may find themselves in trouble

  • toughness - wish to prove they are ‘tough’/hard

  • smartness - use witty remarks, schemes and such as to show they are cunning and fast thinking

  • autonomy - Wish to be independent and not reliant on others

  • fate - believe their fate is already decided and they can’t change their class or wealth status so they should find their own way to live their life

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Cultural criminology

General views of theory;

·         Brings a postmodern view to an understanding of delinquent subcultures

·         Sees them as expressions of identity, resistance and power struggle


  • Using qualitative methods presents a weakness - may lack reliability can be based on subjective interpretation e.g. Presdee interprets the behaviour of youth - limits the validity of findings
  • perhaps this can be better applied to males than females (e.g. Presdee’s bonfire) however in defence of this idea about the thrill seeking, emotion and transgression still apply to women
  • arguments often theoretical and have a lack of evidence - e.g. Katz  ‘righteous slaughter’
  • Tends to research interesting yet marginal issues which are only relevant to particular social groups
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Matza - Subterranean values

People drift in and out of criminality throughout their lives depending on if they can apply a technique of neutralisation

5 techniques of neutralisation

  • Denial of responsibility - 'It wasn't me'
  • Denial of injury - 'I didn't hurt anyone'
  • Denial of the victim - 'they deserved it'
  • The condemnation of the condemners - 'they're out to get me'
  • Appealing to higher loyalties - 'It's for the  greater good'

Matza suggested young people switch from a mood of fatalism to a mood of humanism

Criminal values = subterranean values

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Critiques of Matza

Reject functionalist and subcultural view that groups behave in a particular way together 

-more focus on the individual rather than groups

-uses a different methodological approach - more interested in qualitative data than official statistics

Useful because it can explain crime at all levels of society, including white-collar crime

  1. It is by no means certain that juveniles are actually able to drift into and out of deviance in this way. What happens, for example, when a juvenile is punished/stigmatised - is it possible to then simply re-enter "conventional society" on the same terms as prior to the stigmatisation? Labelling theories such as Becker argue that deviants take on a ‘master status’ which is difficult to shrug off. (more in this next week)

  2.  Matza doesn't adequately explain why juvenile delinquency is primarily a male phenomenon - where do females figure in this picture?

  3.  Matza lacks evidence to support the idea of the mood of fatalism and mood of humanism - it is difficult to operationalize and measure these.

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Katz - seductions of crime

  • Katzargues it’s not possible to generalise about the specific characteristics of a criminal. 

  • Katz focuses on emotion. He argues most crime is done for thrill-seeking and to alleviate the boredom of youth – he gives examples of hooliganism, joyriding etc to illustrate this.

However, this doesn't explain crime done for financial gain e.g. tax avoidance

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Lyng - edgework and Young - vertigo of late modern

Lyng - edgework

Lyng argues that crime is a result of ‘edgework’ – pushing the boundaries of society to engage in activities that go right to the edge of acceptable behaviour. Young people are increasingly controlled and deviance is about experimenting with boundaries. There is an intoxicating fear and pleasure from committing these acts.

Young - vertigo of late modernity

Describes the pressure people experience to be socially mobile. 

Postmodern society has led to greater social divisions and greater anxiety about social positioning, as everything revolves around individualism. 

The collective consciousness has broken down   = more crime / more hate crime / worse crimes 

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Presdee - carnival of crime and Winlow - badfellas

Presdee - carnival of crime

  • People find ways of thrill-seeking and excitement through transgression – rule-breaking – e.g. binge drinking, fighting etc.

  • Authorities try to control this more and more (e.g. increases in alcohol prices, CCTV etc), which leads to people feeling more repressed and therefore more need for transgressive behaviour. 

  • Activities which can’t be controlled and regulated sometimes become seen as the norm e.g 80s rave scene, marking a cultural shift

Winlow - badfellas

argues that where there is no access to any criminal organisations, the youths of Sunderland's lowest-income areas were forced into violence to gain respect 

Studied bouncers and how the career can become criminal

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Young - vertigo of late modernity

Describes the pressure people experience to be socially mobile. 

Postmodern society has led to greater social divisions and greater anxiety about social positioning, as everything revolves around individualism. 

The collective consciousness has broken down   = more crime / more hate crime / worse crimes

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Interactionism/labelling theory

  • Ackers argues that labelling theory puts too much emphasis on societal reactionhe argues that the act is always more important than the reaction to it, e.g. ****, murder and child abuse are always deviant
  • Critics argue that people who commit these crimes clearly know this, i.e. they don’t need a societal reaction to bring it to their attention.They are aware they are going against social norms.They don’t need to wait until a label is attached to understand that what they are doing is wrong.

  • Labelling theory fails to explain the origin of deviance – it does not explain why people commit primary deviance in the first place before they are labelled or why people choose to commit particular types of crime or deviance rather than others.

  • Marxists argue that although labelling theory acknowledges the role of power, it does not explain the origin of that powerMarxists, of course, argue that power originates in class relationships and that labelling is an ideological process which supports the interests of the ruling class and is often used by that class to socially control the powerless
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Becker - the social construction of deviance

    • Nothing is deviant in all situations - it is only when something is labelled it becomes deviant

    • An action is done usually by a group with less power - a group with more power labels it as deviant

    • For Becker, therefore, a deviant is simply someone to whom a negative label has been successfully applied and deviant behaviour is simply behaviour that people with more power 

    • Becker, unlike functionalists, says the powerful create the rules

    • Becker notes in Western societies, the people that label deviants are in positions of power and authority 

    • Law enforcement works on behalf of powerful groups by paying non-powerful groups more attention

    • Becker suggests using a label can affect the self-eesteem of the individual, the deviance may provoke hostile reactions from society, the prejudice may lead to a deviant career and it increases the change of reoffending which is known as deviancy amplification
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Townsley and Marshall and Holdaway - study of poli

Townsley and Marshall

They operate using stereotypical assumptions of criminal behaviour e.g. arresting black men for gang violence


  • Found evidence that racial stereotypingby some police officers may be a crucial element governing their decision to stop black people and their interaction with black people, especially African-Caribbeans

  • Home Office statistics suggest racial stereotypes underpin policing:  police stop and search black people and Asians six times and two times respectively more than white people. 

  • Young working class men also get stereotyped by police

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    • Other agents of social control within the criminal justice system reinforce bias and stereotypes.

    • Justice is often fixed but negotiable 

    • Critical of official crime statistics - he argues that these tell us more about the negotiation of justice according to social class rather than about crime and criminality.

    • in his study, when a middle-class youth was arrested, he was less likely to be charged because his social background did not fit the police’s ideas of a ‘typical delinquent’ but also because his parents were able to negotiate successfully on his behalf. They were more able than working-class parents to convince agents of social control that they would monitor him to make sure he stayed out of trouble. As a result he was

      counselled, warned and released’ whilst working-class youths up for the same offences were charged with a criminal offence. 

    • didn’t explore the wider issue of power in society and doesn’t explain why some acts are deviant whilst others are not (new criminology takes these ideas and goes further)
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Lemert - primary and secondary deviance

  • Primary deviance refers to deviant acts that have not been publicly labelled e.g. the person committing the act has not been observed or caught.

  • Primary deviance is widespread and often trivial and have little effect on a person’s status

  • Those who commit primary deviance often do not see themselves as deviant. 

  • Secondary deviance is when deviance is spotted and punished by those with more power than the person. Secondary deviance also creates a societal reaction.

  •  Both Becker and Lemert argue that secondary deviance can have negative consequences in that being caught and publicly labelled as a criminal can involve being stigmatized, shunned and excluded from normal society. 

  • fails to explain why individuals commit (primary) deviance in the first place – unlike functionalism/subculture theory etc.

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Braithwaite - types of shaming

      • There are two types of shaming

    • Disintegrative shaming – involves the deviant or criminal being labelled as bad and normally involves the offender being excluded from society.The individual’s previous life and status ‘disintegrates’ as a result of the deviant/criminal master status. This is the most common outcome of the present criminal justice system. 
    • Re-integrative shaming – labelling sociologists believe this type of shaming should be adopted by the criminal justice system. It involves labelling the act of deviancerather than the person who carried it out, e.g. as if to say ‘he has done a bad thing’ rather than ‘he is a bad person’. 
  • The concept of re-integrative shaming avoids stigmatising people as ‘evil’ or ‘bad’ but does show the impact of their actions on others

  • This makes it easier for the victim, the offender and the community to separate the offender from the offence, to forgive them and to re-admit the wrongdoer back into mainstream society.At the same time, it avoids pushing wrongdoers into more deviance.

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Stan Cohen - Moral panic

  • A moral panic is an exaggerated outburst of public concern over the morality or behaviour of a group in society.
  • Moral Panic Theory is strongly related to labelling theory, in fact moral panic theory is really labelling theory applied to the media – instead of the agent of social control doing the labelling, it is the media.
  • Two related key terms include folk devils and deviancy amplification
  • A folk devil is the subject of a moral panic – the group who the media is focussing on, the group who is being targeted for exaggerated reporting.
  • Deviancy Amplification is one of the alleged consequences of a moral panic – it is where a group becomes more deviant as a result of media exaggeration of their deviance. It is very similar to the Self Fulfilling Prophecy.
  • He studied the media coverage on the mods vs rockers clash in the 1960s
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Right wing views

Right wing views including the New Right

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Right wing views

Right wing views including the New Right

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Charles Murray -- the underclass

      • argued that the underclass (out of work) are responsible for crime, as the underclass have different norms and values to the rest of the population due to inadequate socialisation

      • This subculture can be identified as ‘Problem families’ who live on inner city estates…where there is a lack of discipline and respect, laziness and criminality 

Murray argues in the USA these are mainly black families characterised by;

    • being single parent household

    • lack of a father figure means that children (particularly boys) are growing up without an adequate role model and are influenced by negative role models on the streets.

    • The welfare state is responsible for encouraging this underclass - it creates a dependency culture where people relyon benefits instead of getting a job

Murray & Herrnstein (1994) ‘The Bell Curve’ – also argue that IQ is inherited. They use correlational data to argue there is a relationship between social class, ethnicity, IQ and crime.

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Critiques of Murray

      • Althusser (A Marxist) would argue that by focusing on marginalised groups, the ruling class justify their use of force to control the proletariat using the repressive state apparatus. Focusing on black people specifically allows the ruling class to identify a scapegoat, diverting attention from ruling class indiscretions and exploitation of the working class.

      • Left realists would argue that ‘problem families’ need opportunity not blame. 

      • Black families have been socially excluded by a prejudice social structure. Murray’s comments should be considered as racist and divisive.

      • Tham (1998) criticised Murray – He compared Britain & Sweden during the 1980s/90s. He found the crime rate increased more in Britain than Sweden, even though welfare provision is greater in Sweden – evidence against Murray’s theory on Welfare dependency.

      • Murray & Hernsteins data has been criticised as invalid –IQ tests are culturally biased - the questions favour white, middle classes culture.

      • Gallie (1994) interviewed the long term unemployed about their attitudes to work and found no evidence of dependency culture. 

      • Charlesworth - (1999) Rotherham study - found that most people who are living in poverty did not commit crimes

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Hirschi - social control

 Hirschi - social control theory

Bonds of attachment

  • Instead of examining why some people commit crime, Hirshi was interested in why others do not.
  • Hirschi was greatly influenced by Durkheim and was interested in how social cohesion affects participation in crime.
  • Hirschi argued that criminal activity occurs when people’s attachment to society is weakened in some way. This attachment depends upon the strength of the social bonds which hold people to society. According to Hirschi, there are four crucial bonds which bind us together:
  • Attachment :  to what extent do we care about other people’s opinions and wishes.
  • Commitment: refers to the personal investments that each of us makes in our lives. What have we got to lose if we commit a crime?
  • Involvement: how busy are we?  Is there time and space for law breaking and deviant behaviour?
  • Belief:  how strong is a person’s sense that they should obey the rules of society?
  • Therefore, greater the attachment to society, the lower the level of crime.
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  • Causal link between crime and economic conditions

  • Much crime = caused by poverty. E.g. during economic depression, crime rates amongst poorer areas increaseThose in poor conditions = in competition with one another for scarce resources will be driven to criminality

  • Capitalism creates this inequality and competition due to unequal distribution of resources

  • Examples

  • Mortgage holidays - suspends inequality - reduction of crime during COVID-19

  • There was a 25% surge in personal theft in the first statistics after the recession took hold

  • Rise in drug offences during coronavirus, 44% rise in May 2020 compared to May 2019

  • Countries in the world with the top 10 crime rates - LEDCs

  • Top country with most inequality, 3rd top country in crime rates

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Critique of Bonger and Box


  • Too extreme/far-fetched to argue that the ruling class are all involved in a conspiracy to control and criminalise the lower classes. 

  • Challenging the argument that capitalism creates crime; most people obey the law, suggesting a value consensus.


  • Marxists are often accused of being too extreme - possibly far fetched to argue that the ruling class are all involved in a deliberate conspiracy to control and criminalise the lower classes.

  • There are laws which do protect the rights of the powerless, such as laws against murder, theft, ****, but also health and safety regulations and human rights laws - However, Box argues that such laws are often framed and enforced selectively, and so still operate to advantage the powerful

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Box and Chambliss

  • Box
  • He argues that the concept of crime is socially constructed by the powerful

  • Argues that murder can be seen as avoidable killing but there are many avoidable killings which do not get classified as murder

  • He notes that we are encouraged to see murder as a particular act involving a very limited range of stereotypical actors, instruments, situations and motives

  • The people who commit legally defined murder are usually poorer and less powerful than those who commit other avoidable killing 

  • Chambliss
  • Social class shapes way police react to delinquency. 

  • Ruling class are part of a crime syndicate who used wealth and influence to bribe officials and avoid punishment. (1978 study of seattle.) 

  • Universal laws are there to control working class and protect the rich. 

  • Crime is criminogenic - capitalism creates both desire to consume and the inability to earn enough money to meet those desires - creating a lure of criminality. 

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Critique of Chambliss

  • Right realists  - too deterministic; assume people have no free will. It is far-fetched to argue all of the ruling class are involved in a deliberate conspiracy to control and criminalise the working class. 

  •  Ignores relationship between crime and non-class variables (gender, ethnicity).

  •  Criminal justice system does sometimes act against interests of capitalist class - 2010-2011 when members of parliament were prosecuted and imprisoned because of their parliamentary expenses scandal. (although not as common as they should be)

  •  Functionalists such as Durkheim argue the law is an 'equal body' in which represents the interests of the whole of society equally, thus creating consensus.

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Right realism

Right realism

Right Realism believes individuals make a rational choice to commit crime, and emphasises tough control measures to reduce crime – such as zero tolerance policing.

  • Right realism ignores wider structural causes such as poverty, inequality, and economic downturns.
  • It overstates offenders’ rationality and how far they make cost-benefit calculations before committing a crime. While this may explain some utilitarian crime, it may not explain much violent crime.
  • Its view that criminals are rational actors freely choosing crime conflicts with its view that their behaviour is determined by their biology and socialisation. For example according to Lily et al (2002), IQ differences account for less than 3% of differences in offending.
  • It is preoccupied with petty street crime and ignores corporate crime and white collar crime, which may be more costly and harmful to the public
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Rational choice theory

states that most criminals are rational actors. If the criminal calculates that the risk of getting caught is low, or that the punishment if caught will not be severe, then they are more likely to commit crime, assuming the reward for doing that crime is high enough. They are rational in that they weigh up the costs and benefits in order to assess whether a crime is worth committing.

What rational choice theory predicts is that crime will increase if the following happens:

  •  If crime brings higher rewards relative to working within the rules of society. Rewards could be material, or they could be things like higher status or more security.
  • There is no risk of getting caught committing a crime
  • There is no punishment for crime
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Cohen and Felson - Routine Activity Theory

They argued that in most circumstances social control mechanisms, lack of opportunity and/ or the risk of getting caught prevented crime from taking place. Crime therefore needed three conditions to take place:

  • Individuals who were motivated to offend
  • The availability of opportunity and targets
  • The lack of capable guardians such as parents or police who might prevent crime occurring.

Most crime in their view was opportunistic, rather than planned in advance. Therefore, if individuals motivated to commit crimes encountered easy opportunities to commit them in the routine activities of their daily lives then crime was more likely to occur.

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Wilson and Kelling - Broken Windows theory

Wilson and Kelling use the the phrase ‘broken windows’ to stand for all the various signs of disorder and lack of concern for others that are found in some neighbourhoods. This includes undue noise, graffiti, begging, dog fouling ,littering, vandalism and so on. They argue that leaving broken windows unrepaired, tolerating aggressive behaviour etc. sends out a signal that no one cares.

In such neighbourhoods, there is an absence of both formal social control and informal social control (the police and the community respectively). The policy are only concerned with serious crime and turn a blind eye to petty nuisance behaviour, while members of the community feel intimidated and powerless. Without remedial action, the situation deteriorates, tipping the neighbourhood into a spiral of decline. Respectable people move out (if they can) and the area becomes a magnet for deviants.

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Murray - The Underclass

Charles Murray argued that changes to family structure was responsible for much of the increase in the crime rate in the 1970s and 80s – he largely attributes the growth of crime because of a growing underclass or ‘new rabble’ who are defined by their deviant behaviour and fail to socialise their children properly. The children of the underclass fail to learn self-control and also fail to learn the difference between right and wrong.

The underclass has increased because of increasing welfare dependency. Murray argues that increasingly generous welfare benefits since the 1960s have led to increasing numbers of people to become dependent on the state. This has led to to the decline of marriage and the growth of lone parent families, because women can now live off benefits rather than having to get married to have children. This also means that men no longer have to take responsibility for supporting their families, so they no longer need to work.

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Situational and enviromental crime prevention

Situational crime prevention policies focus on the specific point at which potential victims and criminals come together, making it harder for the criminal to commit crime. They stem directly from Rational Choice Theory and involve either reducing the opportunity for people to commit crime or increasing the risk of getting caught when committing a crime.

  • Enviromental crime prevention

Environmental crime prevention strategies involve changing the broader area or environment in which crime occurs through increasing formal and informal social control measures in order to clamp down on anti-social behaviour and prevent an area from deteriorating. These strategies tend to rely much more heavily on the police than situational crime prevention strategies.

  • The Port Authority Bus Terminal Building is an example where this worked.
  • Newburn (2013) points to an obvious link between improved car security measures and reduced car crime.
  • Ignores factors such as inequality and deprivation as causes of crime (Garland 2001)

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Zero tolerance policing

Zero Tolerance Policing involves strictly enforcing penalties for relatively minor crimes or anti-social behaviour such as begging, drug possession, public drinking.

This approach was famously used to crack down on rapidly increasing crime in New York City in the 1980s, which was suffering from a crime epidemic, linked to high levels crack-cocaine use a that time.

  • It seems to work – as the figures above demonstrate.
  • It is also relatively cheap to implement
  • It gives victims a sense of justice.
  • Zero Tolerance Policing in New York resulted in a lot more people being arrested and some of those people lost their jobs or rental houses as a result.
  • If labelling theory is correct, once labelled as a criminal, these people will find it very hard to get jobs in the future.
  • It can be seen as racist
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Left realism

Left realism

As a criticism of Marxism, Left Realists point out that the victims working class street crime are most likely to be the working class, and it is these types of ‘ordinary crime’ that worry working class people. Criminology should thus focus on dealing with these types of ‘ordinary crime’ rather than focusing on elite crime.

The three three major causes of (working class street) crime are relative deprivation, marginalisation and subcultures. Solutions to crime should focus on social and community crime prevention and improving relations between the police and local communities.

  • The theory is too soft on the criminal as it doesn’t explain how the criminals should be dealt with.
  • It focuses too much on inner-city high crime areas which gives an unrepresentative view, making crime appear as a greater problem than it is.
  • The theory of relative deprivation has been criticised for being overly deterministic as relative deprivation doesn’t always lead individuals to crime.
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Lea and Young - Causes of crime

Relative deprivation

Left Realists draw on Runciman’s (1966) concept of relative deprivation to explain crime. This refers to how someone feels in relation to others, or compared with their own expectations.


This is where people lack the power or resources to fully participate in society.


Left Realists see subcultures as a group’s collective response to the situation of relative deprivation

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Preventing crime - intervention and community base

There are two broad approaches – Intervention, identifying groups at risk of committing crime and taking action to limit their offending, and Community based approaches– involving the local community in combating crime.

One of the best-known intervention programmes aimed at reducing criminality is the Perry pre-school project for disadvantaged black children which took place in Michigan, USA. IN this programme a group of 3-4 olds were offered a two-year intellectual enrichment programme, during which time the children received weekly home-visits. A longitudinal study showed less arrests in this group.

As far as community-based strategies for reducing crime are concerned – Young and Matthews (1992) argue that improving leisure facilities for the young, reducing income inequalities, improving housing estates, raising the living standards of poorer families, reducing unemployment and creating jobs with prospects, will all help to cut crime. Long term problems must be addressed, but more immediate measures can also be taken.

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Consensual policing

A third strategy for reducing crime according to left realists is to improve policing. They argue that over 90% of crimes are cleared up by the police as a result of information from the public, however research suggests that public confidence in the police has declined. Left Realists argue that if this relationship breaks down, the flow of information from the victims of crime will dry up. If Police do not have the information they need from the public, they have to find new ways of solving crime, and there is a drift towards military policing (the police having to resort to tactics such as stopping and searching or using surveillance) they then alienate people in the community and make everyone feel like criminals, and as a result trust in the police declines further. Therefore the police must concentrate on improving relationships with the community and the public should have more say in shaping police policy –where the police should listen to the public about what crime affects them most in their area.

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