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CRIM 101 (459)
Lecture 7

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CRIM 101
Barry Cartwright

OPPORTUNITY & LIFESTYLE EXPOSURE THEORY ENTER THE VICTIM - For a crime to occur - Important to understand how victim's own behaviour ENTER THE VICTIMIZATION SURVEYS - Life-style exposure, opportunity and routine activities theory evolved in the 1970's, when victimization surveys started to gain in popularity - Victimization surveys tried to figure out who was being victimized, who was doing the victimization, what sort of victimization was involved, what the relationship was between victim and victimizer (if any), where and when incidents of victimization happen, how often victimization occurred, etc. RISING CRIME RATES Also a time when crime rates were rising dramatically, and victims were demanding the gov take action to protect them HAPPY TOGETHER - Victimology, opportunity theory, lifestyle exposure theory, routine activities theory, and rational choice theory are quite similar - All tend to view criminal event in terms of time-space continuum (or environmental backcloth), and examine ways in which offenders and victims intersect in time and space, in the absence of a capable guardian LIFESTYLE EXPOSURE THEORY - Introduced in 1978, by Hindelang, Gottfredson, and Garofalo - Same Gottfredson who co-authored A General theory of Crime with Travis Hirschi - Lifestyles of individuals and groups follow certain patterns, ex. Where they go when they go there, who they go with (or who they meet there), what they do when they get there - Offenders don’t select victims at random; instead, they follow similar lifestyle patterns to their victims, and often resemble victims in terms of age, gender, social class, and ethnic origin OFFENDERS & VICTIMS EIGHT (INDECENT) PROPOSITIONS - The more time you spend (esp. at night) in public places, the more likely you are to become a victim - Lifestyle choices influence the likelihood that you will spend more or less time in public places - People interact with other people who share similar lifestyles - The chances are higher of being victimized by someone who has the same demographic profile, in terms of age, gender, social class, and ethnic background - Lifestyle choices influence the amount of time you spend with non-family members (or capable guardians) - The chances of becoming a victim of crime increase with amount of time you spend with non-family members - Lifestyle choices (or differences) influence your ability to isolate yourself from offenders - Variations in your lifestyle can influence how convenient and easy it is to victimize you SOME SUPPORTING EVIDENCE - 2004 GSS found that rates of violent victimization were highest for young people between 15-24, and lowest for those age 65 years of age - Young people more likely to engage in public activities during the evening, whereas older people more likely to spend their evenings at home/low risk environment - Rates of violent victimization much higher for individuals who were single or separated/divorced at home, and who engage more frequently in evening activities outside the home ROUTINE ACTIVITIES THEORY - Introduced in 1979, by Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson - Same Marcus Felson who brought us 10 fallacies of Crime - Similar to lifestyle exposure theory - came out at roughly the same time (both based on victimization theory) - Routine activities theory tried to explain why crime rates had risen so dramatically throughout 60’s and 90’s - Rising crime rates called into question much of prevailing wisdom concerning causes of crime - Income levels rising, unemployment falling, fewer people living below to poverty line - Why were crime rates going up in times of economic prosperty, instead of going down? THE THREE MAIN ELEMENTS NEEDED FOR DIRECT-CONTACT PREDATORY VIOLATION TO OCCUR 1. Motivated offender 2. Suitable target 3. Absence of capable guardian WORKING ON THE CHAIN GANG - Husbands, wives, and teens working - Traveling to and from work - Leaving home and personal effects unprotected READING, RITING AND RITHMETIC - More people going to schools - More schools to go to - More time spent in school SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP - Food, fashion, functional items, fun A DIFFERENT OUTLOOK - Routine activities theorists, rational choice theorists and environmental criminologists all argue that crime is caused less by economic deprivation, and more by economic prosperity - In distinct contrast to Merton’s strain theory, which said crime is caused by blocked opportunities (striving to attain culturally valued goals of prosperity and advancement, without legitimate institutionalized means in place to make this feasible) - In distinct contrast to Shaw and McKay’s social disorganization theory, which put crim down to high residential density, high residential mobility, ethnic and cultural heterogeneity, poverty, and broken homes ADVANCES IN RAT AND VICTIMOLOGY - Cohen, Kluegel and Land’s work on social inequality and victimization - Miethe and Meier's structural choice model of victimization - Marcus Felson's concept of the metroreef SOCIAL INEQUALITY AND VICTIMIZATION - Cohen, Kluegel & Land (1981) agree that target attractiveness and presence (or absence of capable guardian) are contributing factors in criminal event - Also argue that most property crime is motivated by desire for economic gain – not simply because of thrill or risk-taking element involved, or because the opportunity presents itself - Suggest that income levels have a measurable effect on crime rates - Unemployed or lower income individuals living in urban centres at greater risk of victimization - Higher income individuals able to avoid victimization by reducing their exposure to offenders through enhanced guardianship measures THE STRUCTURAL CHOICE MODEL OF VICTIMIZATION - Miethe & Meier’s structural choice model of victimization builds upon Cohen, Kluegel, and Land’s work - Acknowledges impact of socio-economic inequality in shaping the criminal event - Structural model also attempts to explain criminal event on “macro” (larger) scale, by integrating a number of diff theoretical perspectives A STRUCTURAL (MACRO) MODEL OF THE CRIMINAL EVENT MARCUS FELSON’S METROREEF - Aka “divergent metropol
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