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Lecture

SOC 1500 Oct 25 2011 Lecture Note (F11)

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 1500
Professor
Alexander Shvarts
Semester
Fall

Description
Hackler: Violent Crimes – Ch.15, Biological Theory – Ch.4, Psychological Theory – Ch.5 Schmalleger and Volk: Biological Theory – Ch.6, Psychological Theory – Ch.7 SOC 1500 Tuesday, October 25, 2011 LECTURE 6: Sources of Violent Crime Which Violent Crimes Should We Study? • Crimes of violence: Traditionally associated with murder, robbery, rape, and assault > If we look at stats in Canada, we find family violence the most common, or minor assaults • Family violence: More frequent • Minor assaults: More numerous • Schoolyard fights: In the past rarely recorded > Common for teachers to call cops when fights are happening; more reporting, not necessarily more fights Homicide and Its Recent Decline in Canada • Homicides in 2003: Lowest rate since 1967 > Since 1975, rates have been declining; highest violent crime rate in 1991, since 1991, declining • Violent crime in Canada: Peak occurs in 1991, followed by decline Explaining Decreasing Homicide Rates • In 1990s and early 20th century: Homicide rates have been gradually declining in the United States; trend also found in much of the developed world. In Canada, assault also declined over the past 20 years, and attempted murder has decreased. • Gun legislation: May be a causal factor in this decline. > Argue we need to restrict gun ownership and register guns – decline in violence • Bill C-51 (1977): Made Firearms and Acquisition Certificate mandatory for gun ownership and restricted fully automatic weapons • Bill C-68 (1995): Required registration of all firearms • Rate of firearm-related homicide declined from the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s in Canada. Since the 1980s, percentage of victims shot or stabbed has remained constant. > Fire arms have not reduced homicides; no real evidence of decline • Aging population: Might play a role, but changes in demographics explain only 14% of Canada’s decreasing homicide rate Born Criminals? – Biological Theory (Hackler – Ch.4, Schmalleger and Volk – Ch.6) > Why do people commit violent crime? Are they born criminals or is it society? Biological theory says it has to do with being “born violent.” • Cesare Lombroso, Enrico Ferri, Raffaelo Garofolo - Positive school of criminology: Criminals > Darwin’s theory of evolution; criminals are biologically inferior individuals; have biological defects that cause them to commit crime – have not evolved as much as the rest of us • Goring (1900s): Criminality and low intelligence > Criminals are people who are born with low IQ and because they are so dumb they end up committing crime because they don’t know any better • Hooton (1930s): Criminals inferior > Criminals are biologically and psychologically inferior individuals Hackler: Violent Crimes – Ch.15, Biological Theory – Ch.4, Psychological Theory – Ch.5 Schmalleger and Volk: Biological Theory – Ch.6, Psychological Theory – Ch.7 • Sheldon (1950s): Body type and criminal behavior > People are born with different body types and the body type you are born with determines the likely hood of committing crime; ex. muscular mesomorphs more likely to commit crime • Policy implications: Medical model of criminal justice > If people commit crime because they are in a sense “born that way” – have to treat/cure them • Science: Criminal > Who determines what is biologically normal and what is not?: Scientists, doctors will determine what is normal/abnormal, who is criminal/who is not Born Criminals? – Biological Theory (Hackler – Ch.4, Schmalleger and Volk – Ch.6) • Cause of Crime (Causal Logic): > Early biological theorists believe that people commit crime because they are in a sense “born that way”; NEW BIOLOGICAL SCHOOL: People are not born criminals; born with biological attributes that predispose you to crime, but it is environment which makes those predispositions come out Ex. If you are born with biological attributes which make me more likely to be addicted to drugs, does that necessarily mean you will become a drug addict? If you put yourself in an environment that exposes you to drugs, then you will do it. If you are brought up in environment where drugs are nowhere to be found, then you are not likely to become a drug addict. • Biological factors directly related to criminal behavior: Brain damage > Ex. Bran Damage – if you have brain damage you cannot control your behavior • Biological factors indirectly related to criminal behavior: XYY males > Extra Y chromosome in males; found study that males in jail have extra Y chromosome – made assumption that this makes one criminal/viol, parents who were convicted offenders > do genes influence crime? A lot of boys whose fathers were serious criminals ended up becoming criminals themselves – doesn’tmean that they inherited genesthat made them criminal; more likely watched them from early and learned from behavio, lower IQs > Not necessarily – refer to white collar crim, children physically abused, low level of brain serotonin and high testosterone levels > More likely to be violent, aggressive, impulsive – more likely to be involved in crime as a result • Mental disorders related to criminal behavior: Psychopathy, schizophrenia, major depressio Born Criminals? – Biological Theory (Hackler – Ch.4, Schmalleger and Volk – Ch.6) • James Q. Wilson and Richard J. Herrnstein (1985): Point out that bad families produce bad children > Inherited from parents; genetically prone to commit -rime discount societal characteristics, emphasizing instead the kinds of people and their individual personalities. In the 1980s, views were endorsed by conservatives, such as Ronald Reagan > Conservative politicians enjoy endorsing these notions because they like racking up crime rates/. Delinquents are less likely to delay gratification. Personality has a biological basis - Japanese personality is less criminogenic - Japanese introverts - Americans extroverts - more criminal > Certain cultures more or less likely to commit crime • Criticism of Wilson and Herrnstein’s theory: Skin color is strongly influenced by genetics, but must we conclude that unemployment, doing poorly in school, and crime are explained by black skin? History of slavery, racial prejudice, and blocked employment opportunity has contributed to that correlation. Wilson and Herrnstein’s book success related to the political thinking of the 1980s > Race is socially constructed – has no genetic basis; social services taken from intercity; we know the reasons for black crime – skin color has nothing to do with it Hackler: Violent Crimes – Ch.15, Biological Theory – Ch.4, Psychological Theory – Ch.5 Schmalleger and Volk: Biological Theory – Ch.6, Psychological Theory – Ch.7 Born Criminals? – Biological Theory (Hackler – Ch.4, Schmalleger and Volk – Ch.6) • Dangerous Policies result from Biological Explanations: When those in the political arena are influenced by biological explanations of crime, there
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