Chapter 7 Deviance and Crime
Canadian Attitude Toward Crime
-Canadians between the age of 18 and 49 tend to choose crime or medical dramas.
-Come to conclusion that we are obsessed with crime.
-Crime has been the top 3 issues that concern Canadians since 1970.
-Believe that crime in general is on the rise.
-We may think that Canada contains a disproportionately large number of bad people
who have broken law. But this statement has proven to be an oversimplification for 2
1. Crime simply indicates a technical violation of the criminal law. Someone that
has broken the law tells us little about his or her moral character and whether
he or she is good or bad.
2. Some people who have been labeled as criminals are now seen as heroes.
-Definition of deviance and crime has changed over the years.
The Social Definition of Deviance and Crime
Types of Deviance and Crime
-Deviance involves breaking a norm.
-Informal punishment is mild, and may involve raising eyebrows, gossip, ostracism,
shaming, or stigmatization.
-Stigmatized means that they are negatively evaluated because they have been marked so
they are seen differently from others.
-Formal punishment results from people breaking laws, where norms stipulated and
enforced by government bodies. A punishment may be to perform community service.
-John Hagan classified various types of deviance and crime by 3 dimensions.
1. Severity of the social response: Homicide and other serious forms of
deviance result in most severe negative reactions, like life imprisonment or
2. Perceived harmfulness: Sexual harassment is seen to be very harmful, but for
example, tattooing is not.
3. Degree of public agreement: For example, people disagree and agree that
marijuana should be legalized.
-4 types of deviance and crime include:
1. Social diversions: Minor acts of deviance, like dyeing your hair purple. These
acts are harmless and evoke a mild societal reaction like amusement or
2. Social deviations: More serious, large number of people think that these acts
are deviant and somewhat harmful.
3. Conflict crimes: State define these acts as illegal but whos definition is
controversial in the wider society. For example, back in the day seeing long
beard as backwardness, so Tsar Peter imposed a fine on beards in the form of
4. Consensus crimes: Recognized to be bad in them. Little controversy over
their seriousness. Majority of people see that there should be severe
Power and the Social Construction of Crime and Deviance
-Social constructionism emphasizes that various social problems, including crime, are
not inherent in certain actions themselves.
-Some people are in a position to create norms and pass laws that stigmatize other people.
-Power is a crucial element in the social construction of deviance and crime.
-Power is the probability that one actor within a social relationship will be in a position
to carry out his or her own will despite resistance.
The powerless often struggle against stigmatization.
Crimes Against Women
-Until 1983, Canadian law viewed martial rape as a contradiction as if it were impossible
for a married woman to be raped by her spouse.
-Diana Scully study of convicted rapists shows, sexual assault is still associated with a
low rate of prosecution.
-1RZDGD\VZRPHQ¶VSRVLWLRQLQWKHHFRQRP\WKHIDPLOy, and other social institutions
ahs improved over the past 4 decades.
-Women have more autonomy in the family and have more political influence.
-Sexual harassment is now considered a social deviation, and in some circumstances, a
-White-collar crime refers to illegal acts committed by a person of respectability and
high social status in the course of his occupation.
-Crimes include embezzlement, false advertising, tax evasion, insider stock trading,
fraud, unfair labour practices, copyright infringement, etc.
-Although they are crimes, it brings benefits to inside the company.
-Street crimes include arson, break and enter, assault, and other illegal acts
disproportionately committed by people from lower classes.
-White-collar crimes are often underreported.
-White-collar crimes result in few prosecutions and fewer convictions for 2 reasons:
1. White-collar crimes takes place in private and difficult to detect.
2. Corporations can afford legal experts, public relations firms, and advertising
agencies that advise their clients on how to bend laws.
-Government also commits serious crimes but it is difficult to punish political leaders.
-Some crimes are more serious and common than others.
-Crime rates vary over time and place and among different social groups.
-Information collected on crime by the police is the main source of information on crime
-Data is grouped into major crime categories.
-Information is complied in published each year with counts and rates per 100 000
Drawbacks of Relying on Official Crime Statistics
-Much crime is not reported to the police and is especially true in victimless crimes that
involve violations of the law in which no victim steps forward and is identified.
-These crimes include illegal gambling, use of illegal drugs, and communicating for the
purposes of prostitution.
-Also, many common or level 1 assaults go unreported because the assailant is a friend or
relative of the victim.
-Victims of sexual assault also do not report crime because they are afraid to be
humiliated, not believed, or stigmatized.
-Self-reported surveys are respondents who are asked to report their involvement in
criminal activities, either as perpetrators or as victims.
-Can be subject to concealment or exaggeration.
-Indirect measures of crime are also used.
-Victimization surveys are surveys in which people are asked whether they have been
victims of crime.
What Official Crime Rates Show
-Violent crimes are mostly deemed to be the most newsworthy.
-Rates of most serious crimes have decreased or remained stable.
Explanations for Declining Crime Rates
-Four reasons explain the decline in crime rates:
1. War against crime is increasingly being fought by large numbers of well-
2. Young men are most prone to street crime, but Canada is aging and the
number of young people in the population has declined. The size of young
adults has decreased since 1991.
3. Economic conditions have favoured a decrease in crime. Large cohorts born in
1960s had higher levels of criminal involvement because of their initial efforts
to gain legal employment was hampered because of unfavorable economic
4. Some Americans argue that the decline in crime rates could be linked to the
legalization of abortion. In US, people saw a decline in crime rates 19 years
after abortion was legalized.
-Social control refers to the methods of ensuring conformity.
-83% of crimes in 2003-04 involve a male accused.
-85% of males account for crimes against a person and 78% of crimes against property.
-Women are only accused in a small number of crimes. 45% in prostitution, 29% with
fraud, 27% with theft.
-Most crime is committed by those people who have not reached middle age.
Canadians between the age of 18 and 49 tend to choose crime or medical dramas. Come to conclusion that we are obsessed with crime. Crime has been the top 3 issues that concern canadians since 1970. Believe that crime in general is on the rise. We may think that canada contains a disproportionately large number of bad people who have broken law. But this statement has proven to be an oversimplification for 2 reasons: crime simply indicates a technical violation of the criminal law. Someone that has broken the law tells us little about his or her moral character and whether he or she is good or bad: some people who have been labeled as criminals are now seen as heroes. Definition of deviance and crime has changed over the years. Informal punishment is mild, and may involve raising eyebrows, gossip, ostracism, shaming, or stigmatization.