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CRIM 101 (459)
Lecture 9

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CRIM 101
Barry Cartwright

THE FAMILY AND THE HOUSEHOLD FOLLOWED BY A LITTLE LEISURE TIME ACTIVITY Assaults against children Approx. 60% if assaults against children under age of 6 are committed by family members Close to two-thirds of those assaults are committed by parents (including step-parents, foster parents, and adoptive parents) Two-thirds of homicides against children and youth also committed by close family member; 60% by father, 32% by mother Sexual assaults against children One third of sexual assaults committed by family members Half of sexual assaults committed by family members when victim is under age of 6, slightly less than half when victim is between ages 6-10 In most cases, offender in family-related sexual assaults is a male relative; over one-third is father, slightly less than one-third is brothers, rest are other male relatives Abductions of children More than two-thirds of all abductions are parental abductions Distribution of offenders evenly split between fathers and mothers Precursors In most cases of physical assault and homicide against children and youth, the main contributing factor (precursor) is either frustration or argument Youth children and female children/youth more likely to be assaulted or killed in private dwelling (usually own home) Males over age of 11 more likely to be assaulted on streets, at school, in parking lots, or in other public places In the case of younger children, it may be difficult for them to leave abusive environment, thus explaining their increased risk of victimization in their own home The consequences (aftermath) In both physical and sexual assaults, almost half of children and youth do not sustain injuries of any kind If they are injured, most involve minor injuries that do not require medical treatment Only 2% of females and 1% of males sustain serious injuries Long term consequences of family-related violence against children and youth shouldn’t be underestimated Abused children and youth more likely to be aggressive, abusive towards their future spouses/children, and to suffer from other emotional problems Children/youth who have been victims of family-related violence or have witnessed family-related violence are more likely to engage in violent criminal activity when older CRIMES AGAINST THE HOUSEHOLD UCR vs. GSS 2004 UCR suggests that property crime, motor vehicle theft, and break-ins have generally been on decline since early 1990s 2004 GSS suggests that household victimization (as reported by survey participants) has continued to climb, increasing by 14% since 1999, and by 28% since 1993 Return of the rat According to routine activities theory, opportunity theory, and environmental criminology, crimes against the household due to contemporary lifestyles People spending more time away from home – at work, at school, at play, or travelling between these points Leaving their homes and their personal property unprotected Risk factors for crimes against the household Risk of household victimization considerably higher in urban areas than in rural areas Risk of household victimization amongst those who have lived in their dwelling for less than a year Risk of household victimization higher amongst those who rent (rather than own) their dwelling, and who live in duplexes, row houses, or semi-detached houses (town houses/condos) SOCIAL DISORGANIZATION High income households Sacco and Kennedy say that there is no clear-cut relationship between household income and risk of household victimization According to most recent GSS, however, households with annual incomes of $60,000+ had highest rates of victimization – 17% higher than middle income households, and 88% higher than lower income households Strain theory Findings contradict arguments by theorists such as Gottfredson and Hirschi – ex. That most crimes are committed on spur-of-the-moment, because of thrill or excitement involved, and that offenders are not motivated by prospects of economic gain Findings that higher income households experience higher rates of victimization than lower income households tend to support explanations premised upon social strain, social inequality, and relative deprivation Searching for targets According to Brantinghams’ environmental criminology, offenders are unlikely to explore distant, unknown areas in search of suitable targets Offenders most likely to search for targets that fall within their normal activity space (ex. Where they conduct their day-to-day routine activities) Offenders prefer targets close to their own homes, because of time and difficulty involved in travelling long distances, and dangers associated with venturing into unknown territory Households most susceptible to victimization are those that offer the offender easiest access, and lowest risk of detection and apprehension Prefer corner dwellings on (or close to) major transportation routes, especially inconspicuous dwellings that are partially hidden or where there little or no surveillance LEISURE ACTIVITIES & CRIME Leisure defined S & K define leisure as free time or spare time that is used specifically for recreation or play Activities that people voluntarily choose to engage in, because they are source of pleasure or satisfaction Who has the time? Teenagers have more leisure time than married couples who are raising a family, or people who are working full-time Some forms of teen offending are also forms of leisure – ex. Painting graffiti on schools or joyriding in stolen automobiles Even when not forms of offending, leisure-time activities often take place in venues where there is a considerable amount of crime and victimization – ex. Raves, internet cafes, bars, and sporting events Leisure as a corrupter Often repeated claims that certain leisure activities cause people (especially young people) to become criminals In the past, attention focussed on corrupting influence of everything from comic books to rock and roll music to movie violence Attention now shifted to contemporary leisure-time activities, such as Internet usage and violent video games The whole truth Some observers claim that murder rates doubled during 10-15 year period following introduction of “free” television in Canada and the US Also claim that 10% of youth violence is caused by television viewing And nothing but the truth Some studies found negative effects (ex. watching media violence actually reduces violent behaviour in real life) Other studies found weak effects that could be explained by other factors (ex. Individuals who already display violence tendencies may be inclined to watch violent movies or violent TV programs) Many studies claiming to have found link between watching violent media and increase in aggression were conducted in
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