CRIM 101 Lecture Notes - Travis Hirschi, Social Disorganization Theory, Victimology

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Published on 21 Apr 2013
School
Simon Fraser University
Department
Criminology
Course
CRIM 101
Page:
of 6
OPPORTUNITY & LIFESTYLE EXPOSURE THEORY
ENTER THE VICTIM
For a crime to occur, there has to be an opportunity, or a victim
Important to understand how victim's own behaviour and decision making can contribute
to shaping of the criminal event
*ENTER THE VICTIMIZATION SURVEYS
Life-style exposure, opportunity and routine activities theory evolved in the 1970's, when
victimization surveys started to gain 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 take place, how
often victimization occurred, etc.
*RISING CRIME RATES
Also a time when crime rates were rising dramatically, and victims were demanding the
government take action to protect them
HAPPY TOGETHER
Victimology, opportunity theory, lifestyle exposure 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, e.g., 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 as you, 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 over age of 65
Young people more likely to engage in public activities during the evening, whereas
older people more likely to spend their evenings at home, or if not, at least in low-risk
environment
Rates of violent victimization much higher for individuals who were single or
separated/divorced, and who engaged more frequently in evening activities outside of the
home
*ROUTINE ACTIVITIES THEORY (aka RAT)
Introduced in 1979, by Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson
Same Marcus Felson who brought us 10 fallacies about crime
Similar to lifestyle exposure theory-came out at roughly the same time, both based on
victimization surveys
Routine activities theory tried to explain why crime rates had risen so dramatically
throughout the 1960s and 1970s
Rising crime rates called into question much of prevailing wisdom concerning causes of
crime
Income levels rising, unemployment falling, fewer people living below the poverty line
Why were crime rates going up in times of economic prosperity, instead of going down?
*THE THREE MAIN ELEMENTS
THREE ELEMENTS NEEDED FOR DIRECT-CONTACT PREDATORY VIOLATION TO
OCCUR:
1. A motivated offender
2. A suitable target
3. Absence of a capable guardian
*WORKING ON THE CHAIN GANG
Husbands, wives and teenagers 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
RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES
*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 crime
down to high residential density, high residential mobility, ethnic and cultural
heterogeneity, poverty and broken homes
ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
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 the presence (or
absence of a capable guardian) are contributing factors in the criminal event
Also argue that most property crime is motivated by desire for economic gain-not simply
because of the 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

Document Summary

For a crime to occur, there has to be an opportunity, or a victim. Important to understand how victim"s own behaviour and decision making can contribute to shaping of the criminal event. Life-style exposure, opportunity and routine activities theory evolved in the 1970"s, when victimization surveys started to gain popularity. Also a time when crime rates were rising dramatically, and victims were demanding the government take action to protect them. Victimology, opportunity theory, lifestyle exposure 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. Introduced in 1978, by hindelang, gottfredson and garofalo. Same gottfredson who co-authored a general theory of crime with travis hirschi.