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Lecture

SOC 1500 Sept 15 2011 Lecture Note (F11)

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 1500
Professor
Alexander Shvarts
Semester
Fall

Description
SOC 1500 Thursday, September 15, 2011 Lecture 1 Continued Columbine Video - Media’s perception of black males, Hispanic people – criminals - Crime rates have been dropping; fear of crime has been rising The Reality of Youth Problems: What Do We Know About Deviant and Delinquent Youth and How Do We Know It? - Youth Crime in Canada – The Official Statistics: Between 1/3 and ½ of serious crime in Canada is committed by youth ages 18-24; majority of crime they commit is property crime (24-35 age group commits most violent crime – against youth) - More Youth Crime?: No major increase in youth crime; fairly stable/decreased in last 20 years; more reporting of youth crime - Youth as Victims: In terms of violent crime, youths are more like to be victims than offenders - The Location of Youth Violence: Most youth crime happens within dwellings; homes, 2 most likely – street, 3 likely – schools - Can Changes in the Law Increase Youth Crime Rates?: Yes – any time we introduce new laws it will influence youth crime - Self-Report Studies: No difference between men/women committing property crime; boys/men more likely to report violent crime; lower/middle/upper-class report the same – just as likely to commit crime - Conclusion: Property crime most common crime amongst youth; most likely to be victims vs. offenders Correlates of Criminal Behavior - Correlates Defined: A correlate of crime is a variable that is related to crime. The two strongest correlates of crime are age and sex. - Positive relationship – when one variable goes up, so does the other Ex. Sutherland did research and found that the more delinquent friends you have, the more likely you are to commit crime - Negative relationship – when one variable goes up, the other goes down Ex. Age – Research shows the older you get, the less likely you are to commit crime - Correlation: does not mean causation – correlation is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for causation – means that there is a relationship; does not necessarily mean that one causes the other - Causal explanation - Theories Region – Trends; Are there certain parts of Canada that have more crime and why? - What do the Statistics show?: Crimes tend to be higher near the city center; violent crime highest in underdeveloped countries – not many people have a lot of valuables that they can steal so they kill instead; property crime highest in developed countries – more to steal. In Canada, the highest crime rates are in the West and the North. - Explanations for Regional Differences: 1. Social Disorganization theory: Shaw and McKay – The areas that have the highest crime rates are the areas that have the most socially disorganized neighborhoods; extremely poor schools, poor ties within the community, less jobs – the “neighborhood” was causing these people to commit crime, no matter who lived there 2. Economic deprivation: Braithwaite – the more social inequality, the higher the crime rate; Ex. Russia has one of the highest inequality rates in the world (1% extremely rich, 10% middle class, 80-90% poverty) – one of the highest crime rates in the world Ex. Mexico – few people that are rich, small middle class, majority of people are poor; major crime in Mexico – drugs 3. Routine activities theory: Cohen and Felson – Why are you more likely to be involved in crime or a victim of crime if you live in urban centers? Why are you more likely to be sexually assaulted if you live in an urban center? – More likely to be a suitable target, more likely to be out late at night, more likely to walk in areas where no one really cares about you or what you’re doing or where you’re going, more men live in urban areas, more likely to be unguarded and walk alone Age - Peak Ages for Crime: Universally, young people commit more crime than older people. This is true of most types of crime (except white collar crimes, political crimes). One exception is political crime and certain types of corporate crime where young people lack access to the means of committing offences. - Property crimes – peak ages for property crime – ages 13-20 (40%); peak age for property crime is about 16; decrease at age 21-24 – after age 35… way lower - Violent Crime – similar trends; peak at age 16, pretty high at age 21, go down at age 24; 24-35 are the majority of offenders; doesn’t decrease until mid 30’s - Brathwaite - white-collar crimes – would increase after age 30; can’t possibly commit white-collar crime until you are in a position to commit it (after graduation from school and receive job in corporate office); as you rise in company you are much more skilled in the stock market, embezzling money - Explanations for Age Differences: 1. Maturational Reform: Adolescence is a time of transition, but as people get older, they develop attachments and commitments (such as jobs and marriage) that restrain their misbehavior. But, in the case of white-collar crime, some may become more skilled at evading detection as they get older. - When you’re young you’re stupid (don’t think of consequences of actions), you have more wants (alcohol, drugs, nice things); when you’re older you have more to loose (family, job, house, degree, could go to jail for a long period of time) 2. Greenberg Test: Know trends, not exact numbers – study charts in slide shows Sex (Gender) – Comparing men vs. women Sex Differences and Crime Trends: (a) Violent crimes, property crimes: Men are much more likely to commit crimes than women. This varies by offence – men are most likely to commit violent and serious property offences. Rates are closest for minor property offences (shoplifting, bad cheques) (b) Victimization surveys, Self-report studies - Males – 92% of the perpetrators of sexual assault, 84% - robbery; more violent crime
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