Crim 101 – Lecture Notes (Week 2)
• Crimes as “social events”, involving offenders, victims,
bystanders and witnesses, the police, and other participants in
the criminal justice system.
• Examines the precursors, transactions and aftermaths.
• Examines the settings.
• Criminal event theory is not “new”.
• Interwoven with routine activities theory, lifestyle exposure
theory, and environmental criminology.
• All focus on:
“criminal opportunities”/”suitable targets”
“situational crime prevention”
• Crimes should be viewed as “social” events.
• Involve people interacting with each other.
• Referred to as events (or episodes) because they “have a
beginning and an end”.
• Most offenders are young males (more than 75% in some
Lower socioeconomic status,
Minority group (e.g., African American and Aboriginal)
Unemployed/ temporarily unemployed.
• 1217 age group represented only 8% of population, while
accounting for ~33% of all crime.
• Excusebased explanation (denial of responsibility)
• Offender may agree the act was wrong, but say that they are
Emotional problems for drug use
• Offender accepts responsibility, but claims the act was
• Offender says the victim deserved it or “was asking for it”, or
that “everyone else does it, so why shouldn’t I?”
• Known as “techniques of neutralization”
• Offenders do experience feelings of guilt, and find it
necessary to rationalize/ justify their behavior.
• Offenders and victims’ characteristics usually are alike
• Individuals most likely to be victimized are young, single
males, 1524 years of age, who are poor, and/ or from ethnic
• People over 65 years of age are least likely to be victimized.
• Relatively little difference between genders in terms of
overall risk of personal victimization.
• Victims often don’t realize or acknowledge they’ve been
• May not define what happened to them as a crime.
• Especially true if crime committed by a friend, acquaintance
or family member.
• Bystanders and witnesses may deter or prevent a crime by
• Offenders maybe reluctant to commit a crime in front of
witnesses or possible interveners.
• Bystanders and witnesses may prevent a crime from
escalating, by breaking up a fight, or by calling the police.
• Bystanders may also facilitate crime:
Encouraging a fight,
Encouraging someone to vandalize a property,
Participating in a group that witnesses and encourages a
• Police often have direct influence on whether or not an act
comes to be regarded as a crime
• May let someone off with warning if they come from a “good
family”, yet arrest someone who does exactly the same thing
because he/ she is a “street kid”.
• Proactive policing – actively searching for specific crimes
• Reactive policing – respond to calls; at request of the public
• Many crimes do not even come to the attention of the police.
• Victims decide for one reason or another not to report them.
• Unreported/ unknown amount of crime is estimated to be
over half of all crimes that are committed.
• Victims more likely to report serious crimes or crimes where
perpetrator is a stranger.
• Less likely to report less serious crimes, or crimes where
perpetrator is known to them (e.g., friend or family member). • Victims of crime sometimes involved in criminal activities
themselves, and are reluctant to draw att