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CRIM 101 - Lecture #1

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Simon Fraser University
CRIM 101
Adrienne Peters

CRIM 101 September 7, 2012 What is Criminology?  “Social science studying crime and related phenomenon, such as law making, criminal behavior, victimization, and punishment.”  Recent development o Ideas and concepts emerged over last 2/3 centuries  Modern criminology is multi-disciplinary  Influenced by sociology, psychology, and biology Fascination w/ Crime  Media focuses on violent crimes  Appears as though police solve and arrest more then they do in reality The Appeal  Crime stories- dramatic and lurid  Good vs. evil  Criminals appear insane (psychopaths)  Stories happen in short time span  Easy for public to understand Felson’s 10 Fallacies about Crime*** (EXAM) 1) Dramatic Fallacy  Media seek strange/violent incidents to report/create dramas around  Murder make up less than 1% of all crime-TV and papers make it seem like common event  Seems like most murders are well-planned  Most murders start as arguments-escalate into violence  Most crime are relatively minor property crimes 2) The Cops-and-Courts Fallacy  Police work made to look more dangerous  Increased policing found to be of limited value  Most crimes not reported (crimes that are reported not solved by police)  Few elaborate court trials 3) The “Not-Me” Fallacy  Most people think they would never commit crime  Most people violate at least some laws sometimes (Don’t get caught) 4) The Innocent Youth Fallacy  Tendency to view youth as pure/innocent  Teen years = most active years for criminal activity  Young offenders dangerous 5) The Ingenuity Fallacy  Tendency to think criminals are more clever  Most crimes take little planning, little skill and no time to commit 6) The Organized Crime Fallacy  Tendency to view crimes as more organized and conspiratorial  Criminals act quickly, avoid contact with co-offenders 7) The Juvenile Gang Fallacy  Not as sinister as media and law enforcement makes them out to be  Loosely structure (members just hanging out) 8) The Welfare State Fallacy  Wrong to blame crime on unemployment and poverty  No evidence to show that gov’t hand-outs or gov’t programs do anything to decrease crime  When the economy improves- crime goes up too 9) The Agenda Fallacy  Blame crime on declining morality (say that healthy dose of moral and religious values is what criminal and society really needs)  Most criminals already k
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