SOC 2700 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-15: National Crime Victimization Survey, White-Collar Crime, Uniform Crime Reports

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1 Dec 2011
Chapter 1 - SOC*2700
Uniform Crime Reports - published by the FBI, lists the number of crimes reported
since not everyone reports it, does not include all crimes
do not include drug related offenses, only serious street crimes
Self Report Surveys - people are asked to report how many offenses they have committed
majority of people have committed crimes
National Crime Victimization Survey - survey that asks if you have been victimized
generally crimes such as child abuse, spousal abuse, sexual assault by acquaintance and white collar
crime are less likely to be reported
hard to compare crimes across cultures - different things are considered illegal & have different ways
of collecting statistics about crime
people generally believe crime is caused by unemployment, bad family life and lenient courts
social experiences shape the way people think about crime
as society changes so do the way people think about crime
Classical School
began in the Enlightenment era
rejects spiritual or religious views of crime
believe criminals are reasonable (weigh costs and benefits in deciding to be criminal)
criminal law should be fair & shouldn’t be profitable
related to rational choice & deterrence theory
Positivist School
scientific study of criminals
Cesare Lombroso - biological traits
crime is predetermined
Chicago School
study urban areas in relation to crime
control theory (crime occurs when controls are weakened), differential association theory (definitions
support criminal behaviour), anomie-strain theory (crime occurs when people can not achieve
mainstream criminology - consists of the 3 theories
Critical Theory
related to labeling theory
conflict & power in relation to crime
feminist theory - gender roles shape criminality
intersection of race, class and gender
white collar crime - related to Critical theorists, crimes of the powerful
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conservative explanations of crimes - crime was a fault of the individual, suggest that the answer to
crime is harsher sanctions
routine activity theory/environmental criminology
understands crime as an event (motivated offender & opportunity)
situational crime prevention - reduce opportunities for crime within a situation
- thinking and decision making of offenders - rational choice theory - relates to opportunity theory, and
perceptual deterrence theory
biosocial perspective - research on brain, genetics & other biological factors
criminal man”- a search for biological traits that differentiate offenders from non offenders
life course/developmental criminology - roots of crime related back to childhood
Chapter 2
The search of explanations of criminal behaviour is not easy because we constantly
must guard against our biases, mistaken perceptions, and prejudices
Social Context
Influences the explanations of crimes
Consists of perceptions and interpretations of the past as well as the present
Book she wrote in 1987
Wrote book after completing doctorate in sociology, accomplished scholar,
research, teacher, journalist with more than 20 years of work on the topic of
Therefore was experienced and prepared to study major trends
Refers to the bends in today’s trends that will affect the way we live tomorrow
Thesis was that much of what we have come to regard as basic demographic
features of our society’s population and crime trends are changing
dramatically. These crime warps represent a set of major social
Identified 6 crimewarps
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One was labelled The New Criminal
Refers to the fact that the traditional criminal is poor,
undereducated, young male
Traditional criminals will be displaced by older, more upscale
offenders including more women involved in white collar crime
and domestic violence. Teenagers will commit fewer crimes
and senior citizens will enter the crime scene as geriatric
!!!Point of story is!!! She was wrong even though she was so
educated and prepared to make a thesis. There are not more
women committing crime, we still have young offenders, and
there are no elderly delinquents.
Therefore, no single lens (such as Bennett’s use of
demographics) is adequate for explaining crime trends.
Historical Eras
The context of previous historical eras made different kinds of theories about crime
possible just like social context
As an explanation of criminal behaviour
Stressed the conflict between absolute good and absolute evil
People who committed crimes were thought to be possessed by evil spirits/ sinful
Primitive People
Natural disasters were punishments by spirits for wrong doings
This view was also used by ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans
Middle Ages
Spiritualistic explanations because well organized and connected to the political
and social structure of feudalism
Developed into this way because originally disputes was kept in the family
which meant huge blood feuds and those with strong families would just not
get punished
Was avoiding problems by using methods such as
Trial by battle
Individual from each family fought, believed victory would go to
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