What is crime and deviance?• Crime – an illegal act punishable by law which if discovered could lead to a fine, suspended or custodial sentence.• Deviance – behaviour that does not conform to the norms of society. If a person behaved in this way and this behaviour is discovered it could lead to negative sanctions.• Deviance is socially constructed and is a product of society and culture, it can change over time, place, history and across cultures• Not all crime is deviant….not all deviance is crime!• Legal deviance – deviant behaviour not punishable by law• Illegal deviance – deviant behaviour punishable buy law
Social Control• Agencies of social control – regulate behaviour in society• Formal control – written rules and laws- enforced by formal agencies of social control• Parliament – makes laws• Police – enforce laws• Courts – deal with alleged offenders• Informal control – operates through unwritten on “taken for granted” rules. It is enforced through social pressure such as praise or ignoring and agencies of informal control include the family, peers, work colleagues and friends.
Why are crimes committed?• There are some explanations which are based on biological and psychological factors• Biological• born criminal, inherit it along with other physical characteristics – Lombroso 19th century• Psychological• Based on personality traits• Being impulsive has been linked to criminal behaviour• Impulsive people act without thinking so they commit crime on the spur of the moment and so not think about the consequences of getting caught• They so not think how their behaviour may affect other people
Sociological explanations• Remember we are studying sociology so we look at social factors!!!• Inadequate socialisation – negative influence of the home environment and failure of some parents to socialize their children to accept norms and values of society – approach favoured by the NEW RIGHT• Sub-cultural theories – values of a particular sub-culture and the influence of the peer group. Albert Cohen argued that working- class boys joined delinquent subcultures as a way of gaining status within their peer group• Relative deprivation – people compare themselves to others and see themselves as “badly off” – this feeling of relative deprivation may motivate them to commit crime as they could never afford the same life style any other way
Sociological explanations• Marxist explanations – links to social inequalities that are present in a capitalist society. Not everyone has access to wealth to buy consumer goods that other have and that are promoted in the media. The legal system operates in favour of the rich - tax evasion less likely to be convicted than benefit fraud.• Labelling theory – how and why some people such as working class boys become labelled as criminal or deviant. Cicourel argued that a delinquent was a person who had been labelled that way as a reaction from others rather than the actions of the person. This is an interactionist view. Labelling some one as deviant may help to create a self fulfilling prophecy by pushing someone further towards deviance.
Crime Statistics• Two main measured of crime• Official crime statistics recorded by the police• Surveys of the public such as victim surveys and self – support studies.
Victim surveys• Asks people about their experience of crime• Example – British Crime Survey• Large study of homes in England and Wales• Main focus – have you been a victim of crime? Have you reported it to the police?• Victim surveys indicate that many victims of crime do not report crimes to the police which helps to explain why official crime statistics are often lower then estimates based on victim surveys.
Self –report studies• Ask people to reveal offences they have committed• Example – the Offending Crime and Justice Survey• Focus - drug use, anti-social behaviour amongst 10-25 year olds• Conducted by interview and most sensitive questions are not done face to face but via a computer• This reveals crime that may not come to the attention of the courts or police
Official Statistics• Crimes recorded by the police and published each year• Can not be taken at face value as they exclude the HIDDEN FIGURE of crime that goes unreported to the police• Why are crimes not included in crime statistics?• Not witnessed of discovered• not considered serious enough to be reported by the victim• Crime may be seen as too private or they think that the crime may not be treated sensitively enough• Employers might not report crime and deal with the crime “in – house” to avoid negative publicity• Sociologists argue that official statistics are socially constructed – they are the outcome of the decisions and choices made by people such as witnesses, victims and the police.
Impact of crime• Studies show that crimes can have….• Physical impact – being injured during an assault• Financial impact – loss of property• Social impact – affecting the victims relationships with friends and family• Psychological impact – stress, fear of the attack happening again also studies show that having to engage in the criminal justice process can be stressful such as giving evidence and coming face to face with the accused.• Affect a whole community – fear of violence, and creating tension• Surveys (BCS) show that men are more likely to be a victim than women and the young more than the old
White collar and corporate crime• This can have a three way effect• Financially – loss of funds to government though tax evasion• Physical – health may be put at risk by corporate crime – failing to safeguard employees though un-fit tools and equipment or exposure to harmful chemicals such as asbestos• Social – creates a atmosphere of mistrust in the work place between employers and employees
Youth crime…a social problem?• Criminal and deviant behaviour created media coverage and public debate.• The increase of items in the news such as knife crime, identity theft and antisocial behaviour increases the anxiety of the general public about law and order.• Youth crime ….always in the news• Drug taking• Knife crime• Binge drinking• Vandalism• Involvement in gangs• This behaviour creates fear of young people amongst some sections of the public
Youth crime• Why is it a problem?• Seen as damaging to community life• Has a financial cost – vandalism, graffiti• Loss of life – drug and knife crime• Devastating impact on the families of victims• Creates tension in communities and damages social cohesion• Some researchers think that teenagers are cast as a folk devil – the media’s portrayal of teenagers as folk devils can lead to a moral panic or public outcry.• Teenagers can become scapegoats and can be blamed for societies problems• Over sensationalist reporting in the media can lead to harsher policing, this in turn leads to higher levels of arrests and sentencing.
Government action and youth crime• Fining parents• Close circuit TV in towns and cities• Anti-social behaviour orders• Critics ….have they become a status symbol or badge of honour?
Crime and social factors• Yes…you’ve guessed it age, gender, ethnicity, class, location…..• Age – young people, especially males are more likely to be involved in crime – refer back to sub-cultural theory• Gender – men more likely than women• Gender socialization process• Lack of opportunity to become involved in crime• Chivalry effect• But….number of females committing crime is on the increase.• Changing social position of women• Increased opportunity• Shifts in attitudes…women no longer receive less harsh sentences than men
Crime and social factors• Ethnicity – some ethnic groups are over represented in the CJS - black males in particular.• Face value – these groups commit more crime?• But…are the crime statistics exaggerated by the way that policing is carried out and a bias within the CJS. Research shows that black people are more likely to be stopped and searched, prosecuted and convicted of crime than any other ethnic group.• Class – WC are over-represented in CJS• WC have fewer legal means to succeed – more likely to turn to crime for financial gain• WC sub-cultures stress deviant and criminal behaviour as a way of achieving status amongst peers• But…is CJS biased towards WC? Law more strictly enforced against them than the middle classes committing tax evasion.