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Crime and Violence.docx

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Crime and Violence  Crime o Affects health, safety, and sense of well-being o Reduces people’s trust in social institutions o Damages the central institutions of society (ex. family, workplaces, schools)  TREND: men more likely than women to be involved in violent crimes, both as victims and offenders  Argued that some criminal behaviour is the result of rational calculation  factoring in profitability and risk of crime  Argued that crime will result whenever groups have unequal amounts of power and influence Defining Crime, Laws, and Social Order  Laws: formal rules about what a society’s members can and cannot do; enforced by agencies  Crime: breaking a law  Social order: prevalence of generally harmonious relationships; exists only when people obey rules o Must be manufactured and protected Crime in and Canada and Elsewhere  Street crimes: simple assaults and property crimes  Changes in a society’s crime rate likely reflect changes in reporting and prosecution of crimes  Criminal Statistics: statistics of conviction and or imprisonment o Poor reflection of crime in society  Victimization statistics provide a clearer image  Crime Funnel: of many criminal incidents, few are reported; of the reported, few result in arrests and convictions  TREND: Canadian crime rate has been falling as has average crime severity  Victimization Surveys: samples of people asked how many times in a given time, they’ve been a victim of particular crimes  Regardless of data source, all are incomplete and possibly biased and thus statistics are subject to distortion  Crime Index tracks changes in severity of police-reported crimes and assigns each offence a weight Crimes of Violence  Account for only 10-12% of total crimes; no “violent wave of crime” sweeping cities  Conventional Crimes: illegal behaviour that most people think of as crime o Conventional in every sense except their rarity  Homicide can be subdivided into murder and manslaughter based on involvement of malicious intent  TREND: Men more likely to be victim of homicide than women  TREND: victims of homicide more likely to be killed by someone they know than a total stranger  Homicides are rare, assaults are more common (90% of violent crime)  TREND: most sexual assault victims do no report their experience to the police  Stalking is an emerging problem associated with gender harassment  Staking includes efforts to re-establish a former relationship  Has various determinants often with deep roots in stalker’s history Non-Violent Crimes  TREND: most crimes in Canada are non-violent  Vice Crimes: behaviour deemed immoral (ex. use of illegal drugs, illegal gambling, communication for prostitution) o Provide greatest opportunity for organized crime  White-Collar Crimes: committed by a person of respectability and high social status (ex. fraud, embezzling, computer crime) o Prosper where governments do not supervise the economic marketplace  TREND: Governments prioritize conventional over white-collar crime  TREND: Evidence shows white-collar crime does more economic, physical and psychological harm to more people  TREND: crimes against property have increased over the last 20 years; rates of homicide and other more “serious crimes” have declined Organized Crime: A Window on Our Culture?  Organized Crime: a hierarchical system of pro criminals who practice illegal activities as a way of life  Portrayed in film and television as glamourous and exciting  WILLIAM WHYTE: STREET CORNER SOCIETY o Made sociologists realize that crime was often organized and connected to organized crime o Often connected with social, political and economic life of the people in the community (especially poor neighbourhoods)  A basic part of city, national corporate, and political life  Organized crime demonstrates that crime is learned with historical and cultural roots (not disorganized irrationality); often grounded in kinship, friendship, honour, nad duty  4 CONDITIONS FOR PROSPERITY OF ORGANIZED CRIME IN NORTH AMERICA 1. Scarcity and inequality 2. Poverty and prejudice prevent people from moving easily to find work elsewhere 3. Providing protection in communities that lack or have poor social institutions (ex. healthcare, access to welfare, education, police protection) 4. Lack of human and cultural capital  Conditions met by North American capitalism, S. American neo-feudalism, Russian neo-capitalism The Demography of Crime  TREND: young, less-educated men more likely to be both victim and perpetrators of crime (a trend parallel to Aboriginals) Gender: Offenders  Gender gap in crime is nearly universal o EXCEPTION: females kill intimate partners almost as much as males  TREND: men commit more crimes tan women, though the gender gap varies according to crime  TREND: gender gap is staring to close, especially among youths  Hormonal Theory: Some explain gender gap with biology and males’ higher levels of aggression-causing testosterone  Differential Socialization: male subculture is more violent and young males are encouraged to use aggressive and violent behaviours to solve problems o More believable to account for observed declines in gender gap than Hormonal Theory for gender differences Gender: Victims  TREND: men are disproportionately the perpetrators of domestic and sex-based crimes, and women are disproportionately their victims  Especially problematic in cultures with a patriarchal world view  In Canada, citizens are provided with free cultural expression, but it also wants to protect rights of vulnerable members (ex. women and children) o Means depriving men in some households of the right to use patriarchal (cultural) norms to justify criminal abuse  Ambivalence of female body believed to explain mainly female victims of sex-based crimes o Portrayed in TV and film as a sexual object for male consumption o Women who take control of their sexuality characterized as sluts  Ameliorative Hypothesis: In the long run, increased gender equality reduces rates of sexual abuse  Backlash Hypothesis: in the short run, as gender equality increases, so do sexual assault against women Age  TREND: Young people more likely to commit crimes than old people  more likely to be unemployed/work low-wage jobs  use crime as a means of attaining culturally desired goal  TREND: aggressiveness is a cultural norm for many young men  bring together large numbers of young men  high crime risk (esp. in cities with high unemployment and recent immigration for less developed countries  Crime rates reflect at least 3 realities: actions of the criminals, activities of the victims (report/not), actions of police (lay charges/not) Victimization from Crime Demographic and Community Correlates of Criminal Victimization  Some people are at higher risk of victimization than others  Demographic variables: male, young, unmarried, unemployed  Geographic (neighbourhood): socio-economic vitality, social cohesion and trust, resources and infrastructure, mechanisms of informal social control Suitable Targets  People who are routinely exposed to crime or who have heightened vulnerability (ex. taxi drivers, tourists)  3 CHARACTERISTICS INCREASE RISK OF VICTIMIZATION: o Vulnerability  Physical weakness/psychological distress o Gratifiability  Female gender for the crime of sexual assault o Antagonism  Ethnic or group identity that may spark hostility or resentment  TREND: Female homicide victims more likely to be killed by spouse in domestic violence, men more likely to be killed in public place by stranger  TREND: Juveniles more likely to be victims of violent crimes and suffer from crime-related injuries; more likely to know the people who victimize them  Link between crime and criminal victimization confirmed by TREND in students who report moderate to high levels of victimizations also more likely to report moderate to high levels of delinquency  Information on hate crimes towards LGBTQ hindered by reluctance of victims to report victimization due to concerns of police abuse Classic Works: Richard Ericson’s Reproducing Order  Examined how patrol police preserve, reinforce, and restore social order  The police job is not primarily fighting crime but merely reproducing/reinforcing social order  Most of police’s energy spent running the car or psychologically keeping active to deal with boredom  Pol
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