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SOC102H1 Lecture Notes - Hate Crime, Social Inequality, Canada Men'S National Soccer Team

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Social Problems Chapter 7: Crime and Violence
-Crime is a social problem because it has real effects on people’s health, safety and well being
-It reduces people’s trust in social institutions, their willingness to participate in community life,
and it compromises cohesion
-The fear of crime and the aftermath can damage central institutions like: schools, family etc.
This then prevents our ability to carry out the most basic social activities like raising our children
and learning
-Crime is also a social activity
-It has social causes and effects
-Men are more likely than women to be involved in violent crimes as victims as well as
-Differential Socialization provides the best explanation for this pattern
-Some argue that criminal behavior is a result of rational calculation that takes into account the risk
and rewards
-Crime will increase wherever social inequality increases
-Some argue that prisons will fix the problem, while others argue that prisons cause it
-Moral Panics tend to run rampant where crimes are concerned
Defining Crime, Laws and Social Order
-Law: Formal rules about what societies members can and cannot do
-Crime: Any behaviour that is prohibited by law
-Social Order : Harmonious relationships; exists when rules are obeyed and social situations are
-Social Disorder: Uncertain and unpredictable condition where rules are not obeyed
-Order must be manufactured and protected, the best circumstances are when a social order emerges that
is accepted widely
Crime in Canada and Elsewhere
-The crimes that are common, easily investigated and cheaply prosecuted account for most of our
criminal statistics at any given time (mainly simple assaults, street crimes)
-Changes in a crime rate reflect changes in reporting and prosecution of particular crimes, as well as a
victims’ willingness to report a given crime
-Most criminal statistics (for conviction and imprisonment) offer a bad reflection of crime in Canada
-Victimization Statistics provide a stronger, but not always reliable picture
-The criminal justice system operates like a funnel: Many criminal incidents -> A few are reported ->
Even fewer result in arrests and convictions, let alone prison
-When criminal statistics change, we have trouble knowing if this reflects a change in incidence or
in the enforcement of laws against crime
-In the past decade, Canada’s crime rate has been steadily falling (as well as the
severity of the crime)
-Measuring the total rate of crime in Canada proves to be difficult because police reporting
and self-reporting are typically incomplete
-Self Reporting: Victim reports are direct, but not reliable because changes in the crime rate can affect
a victim’s willingness to report
-Victimization Reports: People are asked how many times within a time period they have become a
victim of a crime
-In 2008, a decrease in the number of break-ins made a key contribution to a drop
in the severity of overall crime in a 10-year period. Over the same period the
seriousness of less frequent violent crimes remained the same.
-Overall, crime severity fell by 20% from 1998-2008, driven by a 40% drop
in break-ins
Crimes of Violence
-Violent crimes comprise about 10-12% of all crimes reported in Canada
-Men are more likely to be involved in homicides than women
-Killers: 88%
-Victims: 67%
-Homicides account for 0.4% of all crimes in Canada, making them rare
-By contrast, assaults are common - 90% of all violent crimes reported
-Repeated stalking is reported by 62% of young adults
-Most stalkers are former inmates, and they are more likely to be men
-Compared to battered women, women who are relentlessly stalked report
more severe violence, sexual assault and abuse after separation
Non-Violent Crimes
-Vice Crimes: Deviant behaviour that may be found as immoral such as gambling, prostitution or drug
-These vice crimes provide the greatest opportunities for organized crime
-White Collar Crime: Crime committed by management, performed during the course of normal
work and occur in reputable organizations
-White collar crimes prosper where the governments fail to monitor the economic
-In Capitalist Societies, these crimes have a lower priority than conventional crimes, despite evidence
that they harm a much larger number of people than street crime does
Organized Crime
-Organized Crime: professional criminals that are coordinated through a system of bosses
-They are famously involved in Vice Crimes
-Worldwide, the value of organized crime is between $600 million and $1.5 trillion
-Early sociologists believed that crime results from poverty, and crime in poor neighborhoods results
from social disorganization: more social disorganization means more crime
-However those views changed and crime came to be viewed as a basic part of city life
-Modern organized crime today operates at the crossroads of legit and illegitimate business
-Crime is a learned, organized, social activity with historical and cultural roots, not disorganized
-Organized Crime prospers under 4 Key Conditions:
1. Conditions of Inequality: Common in poor communities w inequality
2. Prejudice: It is common where prejudice keeps people from moving easily to find work
3. Protection: O. Crime provides protection in areas where there is a lack to welfare, education and
decreased police presence
4. Lacking Human/Cultural Capital: O. Crime flourishes where people do not have these two
forms of capital
-Capitalism, neo-capitalism, and neo-feudalism produce these conditions
-Rapid change provides a breeding ground for organized crime
The Demography of Crime: 1. Gender - Offenders
-Gender gap in crime is nearly universal
-One exception is the rate of female victims killing their partners; nearly as
high as that of men
-Adults charged with a criminal offense in 2004: 18% female
-Youth charged with a criminal offense in 2004: 23% female
-Men are...
-7x more likely to commit arson
-9x more likely to commit murder
-10x more likely to commit robbery
-35x more likely to discharge a firearm
-Generalization: Men are more likely to commit crimes than women, but the gender gap varies depending
on the crime
-Signs the gender gap is starting to close
-This is true especially among youth
-Females 17 and under in violence offense charges:
-1984: 19% ----> 2004: 23%
-Differential Socialization: process whereby individuals learn to behave in accordance to prevailing
standards of culture or gender
-Differential socialization is the cause: male subculture is more violent and young males are
encouraged to use violent behaviors to solve problems
The Demography of Crime: 2. Gender - Victims
-Victims are also mainly male
-Exceptions: Females are disproportionately the victims of sex-based crimes
-Domestic abuse is especially problematic in cultures that subscribe to a patriarchal world view
-A social explanation for the disproportionate representation of women in sex-based crimes is the
continued ambivalence that North America holds towards sex and female sexuality
-Women who take control of their sexuality are characterized as tramps/sluts
-Gender equality, in the long run, may reduce rates of sexual abuse
The Demography of Crime: 3. Age
-As the Canadian population has aged, crime has dropped
-Young people are more likely to be unemployed and work in low wage jobs
-Merton argues that they are likely to use criminal innovation to reach their goals
-Young people have less investment in old, conventional ways of doing things
-Where there is large groups of young men, there will be high risks of crime
-Especially true of cities with high unemployment and high rates of immigration
from less developed countries
-Crime rates reflect at least three realities:
1. Actions of Criminals: They commit crimes that are measurable and measured
2. Activities of Victims: Whether they choose to report, or choose not to
3. Actions of Police: They may or may not lay charges, once a crime has been reported
Demography and Community Correlates of Criminal Victimization
-Higher Risk of Victimization: male, young, unmarried, unemployed
-Many factors determine the safety of a neighborhood: vitality, cohesion, trust, resources, etc
-In general, crimes go up when neighborhoods decline
-With drops in household income, crime increases