Ecology of crime: The relationship between crime with temporal and ecological factors
(day, season, climate, temperature, population density, and geographical region)
Day, season, and climate
>Most crime during warmer summer months
>Teens out of school tend to have highest crime rate
>People go outside more allowing more opportunity to be targeted
>Crime rates in some crimes increase with temperature (i.e. domestic assault)
>Homicides tend to increase (in research) in hot temperature
>A person is 4 times more likely to be assaulted at night 30 C the when it’s -20 C
>Low per capita crime is usually low in rural areas with low populations and large
urban centers tend to have the highest crime per capita by far
> Violent and property crime tends to be in small urban areas but they have low
> Robbery and vehicle theft tend to be highest in large urban areas
> Homicide is highest in rural areas but it is lowest in violent and property crime
>Large metropolitan areas have seen highest increases in crime
>Within the US the south tended to have the most crime but in Canada crime was
steady from east to west no Crime tends to be growing in smaller city’s compared
to larger ones
Social Class and Crime
Generally, the lowest social classes tend to have the most crime with both:
>Instrumental Crimes- crimes by those who are unable to attain desired good
conventionally but do so with theft, sale of narcotics, etc. to obtain these goods
>Expressive Crimes- Crimes that have no purpose other than to accomplish the
behavior at hand i.e. shooting someone in an argument.
In the US studies have shown that most arrests are in low income areas with majority of
those incarcerated coming from such areas
Alternatively it might be product of police practices of devoting more resources to these
areas resulting in more low class arrests
>Police are less likely to prosecute middle or high class citizens over low class.
Evidence for Class -Crime Relationship >Class and crime seem to not have real connections in that youth in all social
classes are equally delinquent and studies tend to include all crimes not just
>If poor possessed more criminal records then wealthy it was due to differential
law enforcement not behavior.
>Class-Crime relationship is more than poor you are the more crimes you do it
includes race, age, and gender
>It’s been seen that the most violent crimes are done within the poor class but
more minor crimes are found all the way up the social pyramid.
Age and Crime
The older you are the less likely that one will commit a crime regardless of class, race,
marital status, sex, etc.
Age is a key factor in predicting crime trends where stats show that youth are arrested
disproportionately to their population.
>Aging out- individuals reduce offending as they age and is found in all groups of
>Desistance- crime rates decline with perpetrator’s age
Some suggest that personal factors (gender and race) and social factors (lifestyle,
economic situation, and peer relations) have a significant impact.
Age where offending starts leads to the likelihood of a lifetime criminal career:
>Early onset people who are deviant at a young age and are most likely to persist
Preschoolers labeled troublesome are most likely to become persistent in offending and
likely to resist the aging out process.
Desistance is influenced by criminal specialization: economic gain crimes are less likely
to decline with age.
>People who do cocaine or heroin tend to persist 10 years or more at crime than
those who do not.
Two Classes of Criminals?
Age and crime is constant or it varies with offender and offence
>If it’s constant then crime can be measure accurately at any point in time.
>If it varies then studies encompassing a criminal’s life would have to be
undergone to understand how age influences crime. Why Does Aging Out Occur?
Aging youth mature psychologically acquiring a long term view of life and resist need for
Crime is a fun social experience for teens but as they grow their sociological life patterns
become inconsistent with crime so they grow out of crime.
Wilson and Herrnstein
>Youth deviance is a part of a human life cycle where unobtainable money and
sex are reinforced by relationships with peers who defy morality.
>Adulthood brings responsibilities like family and the ability to delay immediate
gains that crimes bring
Success and failure of interpersonal relationships
>Children labeled antisocial are most likely to commit to criminal careers
>If youth believe that they have little chance to succeed at obtaining benefits
associated with crime they will desist
Aged 15-24 have the highest rate of committing crimes and for being a victim of crime
The decline of this age group in the 1990s showed a decline in crime rates
All types of crime are expected to decrease due to the ageing of the population.
Gender and Crime
The fourth major crime pattern shows that crime rates are higher for males than for
See Exhibit 3.2 on page 88
Explaining Gender Differences: Biosocial Differences
Early criminologists pointed towards the emotional, physical, and psychological
differences between males and females
Females are seen as weaker and more passive which makes them less likely to commit a
Cesare Lombroso’s 1895 book The Female Offender argued that a small group of female
criminals lacked typical female traits
Lombroso’s theory became known as the masculinity hypothesis stating that a few
females were responsible for the majority of f