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SOC 1500 Chapter online articles: Online reading soc

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University of Guelph
SOC 1500
Stephanie Howells

Sociology notes September 23, 15 Online reading Measuring and Understanding Violence 1-18  Interpersonal violence is committed every day in our homes, schools, business and on streets  These acts are committed for profit, jealousy, political or religious motives or pleasure  A number of factors, such as dysfunctional family, and communities, drug addiction, mental illness, learning disabilities or other conditions cause violence. Fear of Violent Crime  United States ranks first of all developed nations in the world in the number of homicides  Violent crime is defined as those acts committed against another in violation of a prescribed law (murder, sexual assault, robbery,) Fear and Effect of Violent Crime  The fear of violence results from past victimizations, media accounts of violent crime and interactions with people who are knowledgeable about or have witnessed crime  People do not feel safe from their neighbours and fear crime  According to polls, Americans fear of crime victimization relates to two distinct factors: household and sex  Adults living in low-income households are roughly twice as likely as those living in high-income households to be afraid, (48% vs. 23%). Women are more then twice as likely as men to say they are afraid to walk alone at night near their home (50% vs. 22%)  It is common to find acts of violence in the news. These reports fuel the notion that crime is pervasive (makes fear).  Part of the reason for increased fear is the expansion of the middle-aged population. They are more likely to own a gun, practice security procedures- this concern is driven by the media  Residents who see crime assume its happening in their community  Although women and elderly fear crime, they are the two groups that are less likely to be victimized by crime. The concept of who is fearful and who should be fearful of victimization is referred to as the fear-victimization paradox  The effects of crime have had consequences on mental health and sociability, such as depression and anxiety resulting from living in a high crime area  A study found that the fear of crime was associated with “poorer mental health, reduced physical functioning and lower quality of life” Crime Data Sources of data and victimization  Available from two major resources, Federal Bureau of investigation and the Bureau of Justice Statistics  The Uniform Crime Reports began in 1930 and includes offenses reported to law enforcement agencies at the city, county and state levels.  Universities and colleges are required to report to the UCR-  The purpose of the UCR is to enable law enforcement agencies to exchange information about crime and to assist in future crime planning and control  The UCR is a nationwide reporting program, it is valuable to aw enforcement but has some limitations as it details only reported crime. Thus the dark figure of crime is not included  It is also subject to manipulation of info or false reporting  The decision to report a crime is calculated one, often based on the seriousness of the offense and the probability of financial redress, the perception that the criminal justice system will take action to aid the victim, the degree of the victims participation in the crime, the degree to which the victim is embarrassed by crime and the fear of personal harm if the crime is reported The National Crime Victimization Survey  NCVS is another source of victimization data. It began in 1972 to complement the UCR. Unlike the UCR, the NCVS includes a detailed report of the citizen  Most important characteristic- Recognizes incidents not reported to police (dark figure of crime)  NVS reports: crime records, profiles of crime record, relationship of victim and offender, amount of crime that occurs, weapons involved, date concerning whether it was reported to the police or not Statistics on violent crime  1980-2008 Blacks were the victims of homicide  Violent crime is more likely to occur in lower socioeconomic environments such as inner cities. (Competition for space and jobs)  VICAP- is a nationwide data center designed to collect, collate and analyze information about crimes. They assist law enforcement agencies by being an investigative task force  Trends- o 1980-2008 nearly a quarter of victims of gang were juveniles o 2008- 2 of every 5 female murder victims were killed by an intimate o Most homicide victims under age 5 were killed by a parent Understanding violence  Most theories addressing violence are grouped into trait theories: biological, psychological, sociological, economic  Unsanctioned violence is the result of a number of personal and social factors, including mental health, childhood abuse, neglect, drug use ex  Other become violent through a process called violentization, which involves four stages: brutalization and subjugation, belligerency, violent coaching and criminal activity (virulence)  First, this person is a victim of violence and feels powerless to avoid it. Then the victim is taught how and when to become violent and to profit from it. Then he acts on that. If a person from a violent environment does not become violent, it is because some part of the process is missing  Violent acts may be reactionary or planned or committed in the furtherance of other crimes such as robbery or they may be committed to advance a particular case (terrorism) or to conceal the commission of other crimes.  Infliction of violence in some cases is a matter of rational choice  Crime can be rewarding and if the probability of getting away with crime outweighs the chances apprehension, then crime may be the choice Influences of violence -The study of violence encompasses a three level social ecological model -The interplay between: individual, familial and community influences experienced by a person. -In addressing the sources of violence we can look at these categories. Although, family and the individual are viewed as the most prominent contributors
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