Crime control

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Marxist theorist Althusser believed that agencies such as the police form part of the ideological state apparatus that enforces ruling class values. 

Examples of crime control:

  • Anti climb paint
  • CCTV
  • Prison
  • Community service
  • Neighborhood watch
  • Alarms

Approaches to crime reduction

Structural approaches: 
These see the basic causes of crime in society. E.g. crime is generated by inequalities of wealth and income. Crime reduction must involve changes in society.

Individual approaches: 
These see particular individuals as prone to crime. Crime reduction involves changing the behaviour of those at risk of starting a criminal career, or ending the career of those already involved. 

Situational approaches:
These seek to reduce the opportunities for crime by changing the settings in which crime occurs. E.g. surveillance, CCTV.

Structural Approaches

Strain theory
Merton's strain theory argues that the social structure prevents equal opportunity; those at the bottom of the class structure are less likely to acquire the skills and qualifications needed to reach the top. As a result, some turn to crime in order to gain the material rewards. The solution is a removal of barriers that prevent equal opportunity. 

Subcultural theory
Cohen's theory says that a a result of their position in society, many w/c males do badly at school and fail to acquire the qualifications needed for success. This results in status frustration. A way out of this is to develop a subculture in which they gain respect and status. Similarly to Merton, the solution is to remove the barriers preventing equal opportunity. 

Marxist approaches
Crime is generated by the structure of capitalist society. The solution is a classless society - communism. People would then work for the common good and crime would disappear. 

Strain theory and subcultural theory offer few practical proposals for increasing equality of opportunity.  Marxism also gives no practical suggestions. 

Left realism
This argues for both change in society, and practical solutions. It claims to 'take crime seriously' - Young
      Young sees relative deprivation as the main cause of crime. This is created by a society that is unfair and unjust, in which inequalities are growing and equality of opportunity is blocked by things like race and gender. He calls for a society based on talent and merit. This will result in a society that is fair and just, meaning less relative deprivation so less crime. 
Young also calls for multi-agency intervention which is where all the areas such as the police and local councils etc. work together to prevent crime instead of working separately. 

Young gives a general outline of the way forward for late modern society, but little indication on how to get there. However it does also give practical solutions. 

Individual approaches

Early intervention
These programmes intervene in the lives of children, particularly those from disadvantaged groups. They aim to improve children's chances of success. It assumes if children are caught young enough, then then their chances in education and later life can be improved, meaning less…


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