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Chapter 4

Sociology 2140 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Routine Activity Theory, Transnational Crime, Edwin Sutherland


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 2140
Professor
Gale Cassidy
Chapter
4

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Soc 2140 Chapter 4
Crime and Violence
There are several facts about crime are true throughout the world
a. Crime is ubiquitous, there is no country without crime
b. Most countries have the same components in their criminal justice systems police,
courts, and prisons
c. Adult males make up the largest category of crime suspects worldwide
d. In all countries, theft a property crime is the most common crime committed, whereas
violent crime is relatively rare
INTERPOL has identified six global priority areas
o Drugs and criminal organizations, including drug trafficking
o Financial and high-tech crimes such as counterfeiting, fraud, and cybercrime
o Trafficking fugitives
o Public safety and countering terrorism
o Trafficking the human beings
o Fighting corruption, or enforcing the rule of the law
Transnational crime: criminal activity that occurs across one or more international borders,
it can include movement of exploitative images and text via the internet
Child pornography and sex trafficking are also major problems
o The majority of the those trafficked are commercially exploited in the sex trade, others
are trafficked into sexual servitude, forced labour, and into use as child soldiers
Crime: the violation of norms that are written into law the offender must have acted
voluntarily and with intent and have no legally acceptable excuse or justification for the
behavior
Since the establishment of the first police force, police agencies have collected information
about crime
o Canada uses a system called the Canadian Uniform Crime Reporting Survey
(UCR) which provides police agencies with a standardized set of procedures for
collecting and reporting crime information
o These statistics have several short comings
Victimization surveys ask people if they have been victims of a crime and they are also
asked about their perceptions of the level of crime in their neighborhood, their personal fear
of crime, and their views on the criminal justice system
o Youth tend to be vilified in popular consciousness and in the media as increasingly
dangerous and violent, even though the data on youth crime don't support this negative
view
o The surveys provide less reliable data about offenders as they are able to deliver
information that is based on the perception of the victims
Crime surveys tell us about the impact of crime on some victims, but don't supply much in
the way of strategies for crime prevention
Self-report surveys ask offenders about their criminal behavior and they compensate for
many of the problems associated with official statistics, but are still subject to exaggerations
and concealment
o These reveal that virtually every adult has committed a crime, but most aren't labelled as
a criminal
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Routine activity theory: a view that for crimes to occur against people, certain conditions
must exist. In particular, three conditions increase the opportunity for a crime to occur a
motivated offender, a suitable target, and lack of capable guardianship of a target
Structural Functionalist Perspective
o Crime is functional for society as it can strengthens group cohesion and can lead to social
change
o Strain theory: a theory that argues that when legitimate means of acquiring culturally
defined goals are limited by the structure of society, the resulting strain may lead to crime
or other deviance
Merton argues that when legitimate means of acquiring culturally defined goals are
limited by the structure of society, the resulting strain may lead to crime
o Conformity occurs when individuals accept the culturally defined goals and the socially
legitimate means of achieving them
o Innovation occurs when an individual accepts the goals of society, but rejects or lacks the
socially legitimate means of achieving them
o Retreating and rebelling can occur when the individual doesn't want to conform to the
goals of society
o Subcultural theory: argues that certain groups or subcultures in society have values and
attitudes that are conductive to crime and violence
o Control theory: argues that a strong social bond between a person and society constrains
some individuals from violating norms
Conflict Perspective
o Deviance is inevitable whenever two groups have differing degrees of power, the more
inequalities in a society, the greater the crime rate in that society
o Those in power define what is criminal and what is not, and these definitions reflect the
interests of the ruling class
Laws are only create to help protect the ruling class
o Law enforcement is applied differentially penalizing those without power and
benefiting those with power
Symbolic Interactionist Perspective
o Labelling theory: concerned with the effects of labelling on the definition of a social
problem and with the effects of labelling on the self-concept and behavior of individuals
o Primary deviance: deviant behavior committed before a person is caught and labelled as
an offender
Secondary deviance: deviance that results from being caught and labelled
o Being labelled as deviant often leads to further deviant behavior because the person who
is labeled as deviant is often denied opportunities for engaging in non-deviant behavior,
and the labelled person internalizes the deviant label, adopts a deviant self-concept and
acts accordingly
o Differential association: developed by Edwin Sutherland that holds that through
interaction with others, individuals learn the values, attitudes, techniques, and motivates
for criminal behavior
Children who see their parents benefit from crime or who live in high-crime
neighborhoods where success is associated with illegal behavior are more likely
engage in criminal behavior
Feminist Perspective
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