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CRIM 101 (121)
Chapter 2

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CRIM 101
Barry Cartwright

Chapter 2 notes Criminal event theory  crime as ”social event”, involving offenders, victims, bystanders and witnesses, the police and other participants in the criminal justice system.  Examines the precursors, transaction and aftermaths of the criminal events.  Examines the setting in which criminal events take place. Is it new? - Criminal event theory is not “new” - Interwoven with routine activites theoy, lifesetyle exposure theory, and environmental criminology, - All focus in “routine activites” , “motivated offenders”, “criminal oppurtunityies.”/”suitable target”, “guardianship” and “situational crime prevention” Crimes as social events - criminal event theory says crimes should be views as social event. - Involving people interacting with each other, e.g., offender, victims, bystanders, witnesses, criminal justice personnel - Referred to as event (or episodes) because they “have a beginning and an end” Typical offender - most offenders are young males, (more than 75% in some categories), aged 15-25, lower socioeconomic status, and unemployed/temporarily unemployed - 15-24 age group represented only 14% of the population in 2004, while accounting for 42% of violent crime reports and 32% of property crime. Excuses, Excuses - Excuse based explantation (denial of responsiblity) - Offender may agree the act was wrong, but say that he/she didn’t do it. Justification - Offenders accept the responsibility, but claim the act was unjustified. - Offenders say the victim deserved it or was asking for it, or everyone is doing it why can i Feeling of guilt - known as techniques of neutralization - offender do experience feeling of guilt, and find it necessary to rationalize/justify their behavior. Victims characteristic - looks the same as their offenders. - Individual that most likely to be victimized are young males, 15-24 years of age, who are poor, and/or from ethnic minorities - People over the age of 65 are least to be victimized. - Rekatively little difference between genders in terms of overall risks of personal victimization. Victim awareness - victims often don’t realize or acknoeledge they’ve been victimized - may not define that happened to them as a crime - especially true when crimes are committed by friends, acquaintance or family member Bystanders & witness - bystander and witness may deter or prevent crime by their presence - offender may be reluctant to commit crime in front of witnesses or possible interveners - may prevent crime from escalating, by breaking up a fight, or by calling the police - bystander may also facilitate crime: - - encouraging a fight - -encouraging someone to vandalize a property - - participating in a group that witness and encourages a sexual assault. The police - police often have direct influence on whether or not an act comes to be regarded as a crime - may let someone off if they come frm a “good family”, yet arrest someone does the exactly the same thing because he/she is a “street kid” - if police are enaged in proactive policing, (have more patrols and actively search out crime), there is a higher likelihood of an act being defined as criminal - if engaged in reactive policing, (only respond to crime that are reported, or they happen to witness) then fewer acts are likely to be defined as crimes. Reporting crime - many crimes donot even come to the attention of police. - Victims decide for one reason or another not to report them. - Unreported/unknown acmount of crimes is estimated to be as high as 66% or more of all crimes that are committed. - Victims more likely to report serious crimes or crimes where perpetrator is a stranger - Less likely to report less serious crime, or crime where perpetrator is known to them. Eg., friends, family. - Victims of crime sometimes involved in criminal activities themselves, and are reluctant to draw attention of police to their own activities. Dark figure of reporting - once crime is reported to police, it goes through process of assessment, classification and (perhaps) recording - police decision- making influence by a variety of factors, including relationship (if any) between offender and victim, policing style of the individual officer, characterstics of the suspect, and preferences of the complainant Kansas city experiment - 1972-1973 study in Kanas city - tested proactive and reactive and control responses to police visibility - surveyed 15 beats, 5 proactive, 5 reactive, 5 controls - 40% of officers’ time is uncommitted - no statistically significant in crime rates over the period of study - lowest crime rate in proactive beats - no significant increase or decrease in arrest rates be
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