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Crim 101 Lecture 1.docx

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CRIM 101
Barry Cartwright

Crim 101 January 10 2013 1 WHAT IS CRIMINOLOGY? WHAT IS CRIMINOLOGY? cont.  Discipline of criminology Social science studying crime and related phenomenon e.g. Law making, criminal behavior, victimization and punishment  Fairly new development, about 200-300 years most ideas and concepts we know about crime and criminals emerged over 2-3 centuries  Modern crim. Is multidisciplinary (inter-disciplinary)  Influenced by sociology, psychology and biology THE FASCINATION WITH CRIME  Crime is popular topic for newspapers  There is little relationship between crime news - Little relationship between crime news and actual amount of crime (popular topic for newspaper) - Media focus primarily on violent crimes though it’s a small part of all the crime activity - Appears as though police solve more crimes and arrest more criminals than they do in reality  Deal with moral questions of goods vs. evil  Criminals appear in stories as insane or dangerous or psychopaths  Stories happen in short time span, short attention span  Easy for the public to understand FELSON’S 10 FALLACIES ABOUT CRIME 1. THE DRAMATIC FALLACY  To keep ratings high, media seek strange/violent incidents to report/create dramas around  Murder makes up less than 1% of all crime  Seems that most murders are well-planned, grisly affairs, or they happen solely by random chance  In fact, most murders start as arguments that escalate into violence  Most crimes are relatively minor 2 Crim 101 January 10 2013 2. THE COPS-AND-COURTS FALLACY  Police work made to look more dangerous and challenging than it actually is  Increased policing found to be of limited values.  Most crimes are not reported, most crimes that are reported are not solved by police  Very few elaborate court trials (charges dropped, plea bargaining, guilty plea) 3. THE “NOT-ME” FALLACY  Most people think they could never (or would never) commit a crime.  However, many people have shoplifted, smoked marijuana  Most people violate at least some laws sometimes even though they may not get caught or end up with a criminal record 4. THE INNOCENT YOUTH FALLACY  Tendency to view younger people as being “pure” or “innocent”  In reality, teen years are the most active year for criminal activity  Majority of crimes committed by younger offenders  Younger offenders often more dangerous than older offenders 5. THE INGENUITY FALLACY  Tendency to think criminals are more clever than they really are  In reality, lightweight, high value items have made crime even more simple  Most crimes take little planning, little skill and almost no time to commit 6. THE ORGANIZED CRIME FALLACY  Tendency to view crime as more organized and conspiratorial than it really is  Most criminals act quickly, avoid contact with co-offenders, and don’t do a lot of work or planning  Dealing with "organized" criminals, makes what law enforcement officials are doing more important and sophisticated then it is 7. THE JUVENILE GANG FALLACY  Juvenile gangs nowhere near as sinister as the media and law enforcement Crim 101 January 10 2013 3 officials make them out to be  Loosely structured, lots of so-called “members” just hanging out on the periphery  Crime that such "gangs" engage in is “pretty” and disorganized 8. THE WELFARE STATE FALLACY  Wrong to blame crime on unemployment and poverty  No evidence to show that government hand-outs or gov’t programs do anything to decrease crime  When the economy improves, o
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