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Some Statistics + Definition of Crime

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CRIM 1650
James Williams

Some Statistics 1. There has been a decrease in crime since 1991  since 1973 crime is now at its lowest rate  vast majority of decrease is property crime  in about 30 years, crime is at its lowest rate  violent crime rate peak in 1995  4% decrease in violent crime in Canada since 2001, due to property offences (non-violent crime)  homicides 598 in 2011 (peak: 1975), 2012 fewer by 55 than 2011 2. Levels of youth crime in Canada have never been higher  youth violence crime peak in 1995 + small peak in 2003  roughly 3% decline since 2001  (generally minor assaults) 3. Most crimes of violence are perpetrated by individuals known to the victim  True 4. The city with highest violent crime rate in Canada is Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Thunder Bay, Regina, Toronto is #12 (Google statistics Canada crime rate 2011) 5. Research studies have demonstrated a causal link between media violence & future criminal behavior  false, no study has been able to show the causal link, have in correlation relationship 6. Based on economic costs, street crime is less serious than corporate and white-collar crime  True: W-C crime = more expensive 7. There are documented cases of children being harmed by foreign objects (razor blades) placed in Halloween candy by strangers  False, no documented cases of foreign objects in Halloween Candy  one case: James Joseph Smith -> put needles in snicker bars  1970s kids actually died:  uncle's heroin stache  poisoned (cyanide) candy bar by father, Timothy O’Brien 8. “Get Tough” approaches such as the Ontario Boot Camp program have been effective in reducing rates of future offending for Your Offenders  False 9. Canada has 1 of Strictest Youth Justice Systems in the world  True 10. Similarities exist between the pharmacological properties of some prescription drugs + street drugs such as cocaine.  True, both drugs have neurotransmitters, therefore can have similar effects 11. Do courts deal too harshly/not harshly enough with criminals? Definition of crime  criminology is not just 1 thing, but a combo of diff. approaches (no such thing as criminology if by criminology you mean a discipline with its own strict tools, theories)  criminology has unique ways of looking at crime  criminologists usually come fr. different disciplines  criminology is interdisciplinary where people work together with common interest in crime  criminologists are fundamentally different Objectives: 1. Complexity of the questions. What is crime? Who are the criminals? a. crime is incredibly common  10% Canadians have criminal records (people who get caught)  US 90% of Americans have committed a crime b. crime is diverse (broad range of crimes) c. Crimes + criminals are normal  no clear line can be drawn between criminals and non-criminals  we must question distinction between criminality 2. Continuum of crime and deviance (where to draw the line?) 3. Approaches to the definition of crime (Legal, consensus, constructionist, conflict)* 4. Crime as a social phenomenon (The social context of crime) Views of Crime  no specific reference point of the definition of crime (no single view)  some argue that there has to be some kind of harm for something to be considered a crime. ex: if you are passing by a window and you just came out of the shower, it is a crime (public nudity) yet some argue how can this be a crime when there is no harm? What is Crime and who are the "Criminals?"  Disorderly Conduct – Causing  Uttering Threats (Section 264) Disturbance, Indecent Exhibition,  Death or bodily harm; destruction of Loitering (Section 175) property.  Disorder outside a dwelling-house  Assault (Section 265) caused: (1) by fighting, screaming,  Theft (Section 322) shouting, swearing, singing or using  Forgery (Section 366) insulting or obscene language; (2) by  Mischief (Section 430) being drunk; or (3) by impeding or molesting other persons.  Destruction of property.  Dangerous Operation of Motor Vehicles, Vessels, and Aircraft (Section 249)  Operation of a motor vehicle in a manner dangerous to the public. Continuum of Crime and Deviance It is important to understand what is criminal and deviant  prostitution= grey area  Michael Jackson is another gray zone example 1.  We always think of extremes first; murderers, rapists, other untypical crimes.  Small things such as disorderly conduct, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, uttering threats, assault, theft, forgery and mischief are all crimes.  Crime is diverse  No way to differentiate criminals from people because people are criminals. 2.  Difference between deviance and crime  Ambiguous if something is a crime or deviant Legal: Definition: belief that crime is an act/failure to act, which violates the criminal law.  Crime is an intentional act or omission in violation of criminal law, committed without defense or justification and sanctioned by the state.  An act or a failure to act which violates the criminal law Elements: 1) Actus Reus and Mens Rea  guilty act and guilty mind Actus Reus  evidence of action  voluntary action or failure to act (failure to act-criminal negligence) Mens Rea  guilty mind  particular state of mind  Subjective: it happened with a mindset to do it.  you must prove intent  Objective: a reasonable person would have realized its dangers.  based on valid argument that there was a ‘reasonable person’ who understood the outcome 2) Legal Defenses: Insanity, self-defense, etc.  self-defense: need to prove you were acting out of self defense  Insanity: must prove you're not in the right state of mind Limitations:  Overlooks peoples understandings of what is criminal, what isn’t; ie- Honor killing.  (1)Neglects harmful behavior which is not sanctioned by criminal law  false advertising (competition bureau), corporate, white collar crime such as health and safety violations, adultery, smoking, violence against women, abortion (these examples depend on perspective)  (2)Ignore the social, cultural and historical relativity of law. Ie- copyright violations.  law varies across society, culture, over time  no prohibitions against drugs until 1908 when opium was criminalized  no evidence to prove marijuana was harmful when it was criminalized 1937  Mexicans: discrimination against them during depression  homelessness: has been criminalized (panhandling)  new laws emerge, something occurs that changes the way we view certain issues  activites that are still considered crimes (ex: s365 - pretending to practice witchcraft and s49 - acts that alarm your majesty)  law that effected public morality before but has no effect now  (3)Overlooks the process of law formation and social, political and economic interests at stake in the process. Nivea "My Silh
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