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Lecture 8

SOCI-225 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: White-Collar Crime, Embezzlement, Homicide

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Ch 5 Correlates of Criminal Behaviour
Correlate: any variable that is related to another variable; age and sex are the two strongest correlates of crime
-a correlation exists when two or more variables are related to each other
-a causal explanation describes how one factor causes another; correlation does not allow us to infer causation. Usually
involves a theory: an description linking the two variables
-tendency to assume that a cause has only one affect or that it is perfectly correlated with its outcome, which is rare (ie poverty
related to crime/delinquency, but not 100%)
-in reality, crime has many causes that interact (Nettler described it as a spider web)
Age: crime is strongly
associated with age; after
adolescence and early
adulthood crime decreases
--other researchers have
found weaker trends:
clearest link was for break
and enter, when economic
trends are considered
-the youg a’s gae
-Sutherland and Cressey: sex
status is most important
-increases from early
adolescence and then
declines after young
adulthood (age 15-20, peak
at age 18)
-strongest in relation to
property crimes versus
violent crimes
-young adults
overrepresented in adult
courts (18-24 yrolds make
up 30% of court cases, and
25% of violent cases)
-some crimes such as fraud,
embezzlement etc peak later
in life
-60% of offenders are 35
years+ for: sexual assault,
harassment, prostitution
-white collar crime peaks
later in life because one
must attain status first
-Ageton and Elliot used self-
report method in USA and
found lower peak rate of
crime for both violence and
property (13-15 y/o). this
may be explained by juvenile
diversion programs and
hesitancy to put teens into
the system
-both stats and self-report
show significant decline in
all crimes between 17-23
except for assault
-canadian survey showed
that delinquency increases
till 16 or 17 then decreases
but tends to increase with
drug offences
-changing ages partially due
to population trends such as
baby boomers (crime rate
rose i the 0’s ad the fell
in the late 0’s whe ost
would be about 30 y/o)
Rates began to drop in the
early 0’s
-the lower crime rates in the
0’s ad 2000’s coicides
with a decreased population
between 15 and 24 y/o
(partially due to shifts in
population age and
increased employment
Gender: males more likely to
be involved in crime, esp.
serious property crime and
violent crime
-female crime rate
increasing but still highest in
minor property crime
-gap between adult males
and females for violent
crime has decreased from
9:1 to 5:1
-stats critiqued for reflecting
changing responses to
female crime rather than
crime rates
-Smith and Visher found that
the gender disparity seems
to be declining more rapidly
in self report than statistics
studies but moreso in youth
and minor crimes
-males made up 77% of
2008-09 cases, and near
100% of sexual assaults
-female crime associated
with prostitution, theft and
fraud at about 30% of cases
-victimization surveys
indicate males responsible
for 88% of crime
-gap in gender not as large
in youth via self report
surveys but not in Montreal.
This can be influenced by
the way police handle youth
offenders (3:1 versus 8:1 in
-differences in self repot
survey often due to the
questions asked (certain
types of crime may be
gendered); the ratio of male
to female is higher in violent
crimes and less in property
-crime in females may be
rising in part due to
accessibility (ie women in
power positions can now
commit fraud)
-i the U“A O’Brie foud
that rates for property theft,
auto theft, and burgalery are
converging and diverging for
-in Canada there has been a
narrowing of the divide, but
most female crime is still
petty theft
-females still lag far behind
despite the increases in
theft charges; the gap
between genders for
property crime remained
about the same, but the
overall absolute gap
-for females violent crime
has icreased sice the 0’s
-male rates have been
decreasig sice the 0’s i
violent crime and assault
Race: not as strongly related
as age and sex, but still
indicated esp. in the USA
-minorities account for 10%
of incarcerated population;
overrepresented in
Aboriginal focus: (see below)
overrepresented in both
community service and
-racial profiling: investigated
in Toronto towards blacks
if racial minorities are
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