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Chapter 1-9

Sociology 2266A/B Textbook Final chapters 1-9; Pare

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Sociology 2266A/B
Stacy Hallman

Nine Fallacies About Crime 11/26/2013 7:31:00 AM \\The Dramatic Fallacy  States that the most publicized offenses are far more dramatic than those commonly found in real life  Media carried away by horror-distortion sequence; they find a horror story and entertain the public with it The Murder Mix o Public views murder as one of the most frequent crimes, but makes up less than 1% of the eight Part I crimes o Part I crimes: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft and arson o 9 out 10 ten of these crimes are non-violent o larceny crimes make up 58% of Part I crimes o FBI collects data on Part II crimes (less famous); incudes drug offenses to prostitution and sex offenses as well as simple assaults o Largest category of murder is miscellaneous arguments o More likely to occur over money or property o Two central features of a murder: gun too near, hospital too far The Mass of Minor Offense o self report surveys pick up a lot of information on minor offences o minor drugs far exceed major drugs, and occasional usage far exceeds regular usage The Cops-and-Courts Fallacy  Warns us against overrating the power of criminal justice agencies  The crime comes first, justice system follows Police Work o Very mundane o Important things you learn:  Many calls or service never lead to a real crime report  Many complaints bother few citizens but do not directly threaten the whole community  Many problems are resolved informally, as they should be o Their most common problem is rude encounters with people o Kansas City Patrol Experiment investigated inhibiting wrongdoing by sheer presence on the streets; found that intensified police patrols are scarcely noticed by offenders or citizens and have little to no impact on crime rates Courts and Punishment o When there is an arrest, most do not lead to trial or guilty plea o Psychologists have found that the best way to get someone to do what you want is to reward more than you punish o The U.S criminal justice system:  Punishes bad rather than rewarding good  Relied on rare and delayed, but extreme penalties  Never catches up with crime itself, which gives sure and quick rewards to offenders The Not Me Fallacy  Is the illusion that we could never do a crime  Denies every illegal act ever committed or contemplated  Everyone has a price reminds us not to overstate the differences between active offenders and the rest of the population  Ask why you didn’t do it rather than why they did it The Innocent Youth Fallacy  Reflects the belief that being young means being innocent  Criminal behaviour accelerates quickly in teen years  Peaks in the 20s and declines as youth fades  Very active offenders tend to continue offending as they get older, tend to engage in extended substance abuse  Young inmates are causing the most trouble inside prisons The Ingenuity Fallacy  False image of the criminal derived from media creates ingenuity fallacy  Obsolesce of crime forms; technology made crime more difficult  Part of this fallacy stems form embarrassment of victim  Difficult to admit you left yourself open to offender The Organized Crime Fallacy  The tendency to attribute much greater organization to crime conspiracies than they usually have Crime Conspiracy o Three basic principles: 1. Act quickly to escape detention and minimize danger from other offenders 2. Have direct contact with as few co-offenders as possible to avoid betrayal 3. Work as little as possible to get a lot of money o Criminal conspiracy can work in a chain letter type of way (marijuana supplying example) Juvenile Street Gangs o Group of boys from a loose structure; people fading in and out, and frequent disintegration o Core members more active than others o Peeling onion example o Gangs with no social workers to help them fell apart more quickly o Gangs are not what they are cut out to be because:  The word gang is overused  Gangs have non-gang features, individuals have jobs, go to school ,etc.  Gangs are often accredited with crime committed by other youths and their members re often inflated o Most of the time crime is petty and local The Agenda Fallacy  Refers to the fact that many people have an agenda and hope you assist them  They want you to take advice, vote a certain way, or join their religious group  Their promises are usually bogus Moral Agendas o Many people believe declining in morality is cause of crime o Basic moral sequence is supposed to be:  Teach and preach morality to others  They then do wahts right in practice  That prevents crime o If this was followed a moral agenda would be justified Religious Agendas o Many religious groups feel that conversion to their faiths or values will prevent crime and failure will lead to more crime o Studies found that young people in religious groups still have the same risk of committing a crime o Those most prone to breaking law have trouble sitting so they stop going to church or never start o They do a better job at supervising poepl; religious insitituons Social and Political Agendas o Blame other people; media, men, etc. o Blame principle Welfare State Agency o Usually mistake to consider crime a part of social evils such as unemployment, poverty, social injustice, or human suffering o Consider welfare state and crime; people people hate the welfare state and blame it for crime while others like the welfare state, promising that more social programs will reduce crime o Most crime rates went down during the Great Depression o Improved economic and social and welfare changes in the 1960s to 70s showed an increase in crime o US does not have higher crime victimization rates than other developed countries o US has highest homicide rate than any other country in the world o Presence of guns makes a difference The Vague-Boundary Fallacy  Some believe that crime has no real definition and view it as subjective  Their intellectual lawleness makes a mess of our field by: o Giving no boundaries and keeping it vague o Requiring a different criminology for each legal system o Letting criminology students get an easy A, no matter what they write  Vague-boundary policy refers to the tendency to make criminology too subjective. It allows students and instructors to wriggle out of responsibility and keeps crime science from developing A Clear Definition of Crime o A crime is a identifiable behaviour that a appreciable number of governments has specifically prohibited and formally punished o Criminal behaviour defined in broad historical terms is not necessarily a statutory crime in all nations or all eras How Much Crime is There? o UCR program to provde accurate information about crime reported began in 1930s o Provides national standards since every state is different o UCR crime definitons are distinct and do not conform to federal or state laws nor do they hold any legal standing o Only contains data reported to or found by police for eight types of Part I crimes o FBI is even less strict about compiling information on Part II crimes o National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) measure crime by asking individuals about victimization o Every six months; developed in 1973; covers most of UCR stuff but also asks about unreported figure of crime o You learn more about violent crimes with NCVS and more property crimes on UCR The Random Crime Fallacy  Is pernicious because it eliminates personal responsibility and implies crime cannot be prevented  Crime is both predictable and preventable  People who have been victimized in the past are more likely to be victimized again Chapter Two: Chemistry for Crime 11/26/2013 7:31:00 AM  A setting is a location for recurrent behavior at known times  A crime setting is where people converge or diverge- influencing their crime opportunities  Ambush sequence: o A public setting is packed with strangers o One of those strangers leaves, walking down a deserted street nearby o A second stranger leaves the bar, following the first until there is nobody else around to interfere o At the right moment, the second stranger attacks o Living near high school exposes people to risk of burglary and other crimes o Settings are the central organizing feature for everyday life The Stages of a Criminal Act  The prelude  The incident  The aftermath The Almost-Always Elements of a Criminal Act  Most criminal acts occur in a favorable setting  Criminal acts have three almost always elements: o A likely offender o A suitable target o The absence of a capable guardian against the defence  Best candidate for someone who will commit a crime is a young male who does poorly in school, gets into traffic acidents, has a big mouth, loses jobs  The guardian differs from the offender and target because the absence of a guardian is what counts The Crime Triangle  Smaller inner triangle in the center of the figure gives the three features of each crime problem: the offender, the crime target, and the place or setting where the crime occurs  The outer triangle talks about supervision The Often-Important Elements of a Criminal Act  These almost always elements of a crime are supplemented by its own-important elements: o Any props that help produce or prevent a crime, including weapons or tools o Any camouflage that helps the offender avoid unwanted notice o Any audience the offender wants either to impress or intimidate  An ideal crime provides offender a target in absence of a guardian Predatory Crimes  Occurs when the offender is clearly different from the victim and the victim objects to the offenders actions(most Part I crimes)  Ideal predatory offence requires at least one clearly guilty offender preying on at least one clearly innocent person or a property target the offender has no right to  Are mostly impersonal; they don’t care how victim feels  Predatory sequence typically works like this: o A likely offender enters a setting o A suitable target enters too o A guardian leaves o An offender attacks the target  Some settings called crime attractors Fights  Violent interactions involving two parties at least as illegal counterparts  Illegal market for goods: these are for selling contraband, counterfeit money, or product  Illegal market for services: may link buyers and sellers of prostitution, illegal sex shows, or even contract killing  Illegal markets for person: slaves, women sold into prostitution  Setting for illegal market: illegal transactions have physical requirements and depend on suitable settings  Personal ties less suitable for recruiting new users because the seller is limited to those he already knows  Personal networks however can and do fan out and can in time spread illegal sales to a broader audience Calming the Waters and Looking After Places  Types of managers who can prevent crime: o Homeowners and long time renters o Builing superintedents, doormen o Bartenders, managers, owner o Small business persons and store managers o Street vendors o Security people with focused responsibility o Park and playgrounf supervisors o Train station managers o Bus drivers  Each place manager has an incentive to prevent crime  People like sense of security; and increasing presence it provides some degree of security  Oscar Newmans’s classic distinction: o Private space o Semi-private space o Semipublic space o Public space Risky Settings  Daily life is divided into different types of settings some of which can generate lots of crime  The riskiest types of settings o Public routes; foot paths, parking facilities o Recreation settings; bars and some parks o Public transport; stations and their vicinities o Retail stores; shoplifting o Residential settings; burglary and theft o Educational settings; on their edges o Offices; easily entered for theft o Human services; hospitals with 24 hour activities o Industrial locaitons; warehouses with attractive goods Hot Products  Some products stolen more than others (list on page 39)  Honda civic hatchback generates 9.8 times as much theft risk as the mini copper  Most products stolen from stores includes magazines, shirts, jeans, items with TH or Polo label, CDs, beauty aids, cigarettes Items That Invent Theft  Offender wants to steal something valuable, enjoyable and available  Hot products tend to be: o Concealable o Removable o Available o Valuable o Enjoyable o Disposable  Cash solves all 6 problems Hot Products Are Affected by Their Settings  Burglar targets both the home and the goods inside of it  Burglars associate the goods inside by the building or home form the outside  Take in account area  Being out of site helps protects themselves from being a target Targets Vary by Offender Motive  As motive shifts, so do targets  For example autotheives differ in their motives and hence in targets they pick: o Joyrider takes a trip for fun, picking a flashy and fun new car o Traveler chooses almost any car that’s convenient and drives home o A felon steals a car to perform another crime, picking a fast model o A shipper takes a luxury car to sell abroad When Heavy Items are Stolen  Pick up trucks are common  The weight of the item increases as one goes further from city core  Stolen when wheels provide getaways Theft Trends  Study showed that one of the major causes of mushrooming crime rates in US after 1963 was the proliferation of lightweight durable goods that were easy to steal  Canada demonstrated easier use of checks and credit cards without careful identification produced a proliferation for fraud  Americans using less cash helped decrease crime rate Craving Violent Targets  A violent offender generally needs to conceal the violent act  He must remove himself safely from the scene; avail himself of a convenient human target for violent attack; find target of value in his own mind; enjoy the criminal act, or at least avoid pain to himself; and dispose of incriminating evidence even the victim The General Chemistry of Crime  Each crime has its particular chemistry  To understand where many types of crime risks occur, three terms are offered: o Nodes: setting such as homes, schools, workplaces, shopping or strip malls, and entertainment areas; provide particular crime opportunities and risks o Paths: leading from one node to another, also offering crime opportunities and risk. Not only do paths conduct more people per square foot-hence providing offenders targets and guardians, but also lead people to nodes that might involve them one way or another in crime o Edges: places where two local areas touch. Crime is often most risky here. Outsiders can intrude quickly and then leave without being stopped or even noticed Chapter 3: Crime Decisions 11/26/2013 7:31:00 AM  Utilitarian model by Jeremy Bentham gets us started in understanding why people commit illegal acts  Every individuals gains to seek pleasure and avoid pain  Offenders make quick choice  The offender seeks to gain quick an avoid imminent pain How Cautious? How Casual?  Most criminals take rather casual approach to crime; still making decisions  Point of crime is to get things without having to work hard and without much dedication  Most active offenders are daring enough to break the law How Much Do Offenders Consider?  Most commercial robbers take few steps before committing a crime  Shows they do not act with great care Offenders are Attuned to Certain Details  Researchers ask questions that can be answered with no fluff: o Why did you pick this street? o Would you break into this house? Why not this one o Would you go back later  An offense can be spontaneous without being irrational  Even without real planning, an offender responds to cues in the immediate setting and decides what to do  Environmental cues are the crucial link between individual choice and the immediate settings that impel or constrain choices When Does Crime Pay  Most offenses pay in short term  Most offenders suffer enough bad experiences to justify our conclusion that crime eventually fails them  Offenders almost certainly suffer from the consequences of their own lifestyles than form the actions of public officials The Decision-Environment Paradox  An important paradox is that: o The everyday environment external to offenders guides their illegal acts; yet o Offenders make a calculated choice  If first statement true, how could we blame, convict, and punish persons not acting entirely by free choice?  Given the second statement, how can we justify our claims to the first statement  Not everyone responds to the same environment cues the same way Settings Offer Different Choices at Different Times  To understand how temptation and controls shift so quickly, consider the cue-decision sequence: o Someone enters a setting o Containing some cues that transmit temptations and controls o After quickly noting and interpreting these cues o He or she decides whether to commit a criminal act  These cues often come from guardians or managers and handlers Options Shift  Potato chip principle: no one can eat only one potato chip  The principle tells us that blame and control may vary as a person goes through even a few minutes of life  Consider the disinhibit ion sequence: o A young man drinks some beer with friends o He gets high and drinks still more o Then he smokes marijuana getting higher o Some of the boys commit a burglary  This example states that one drink leads to another and it gets harder and harder to pull away Cues are Needed to Assist Self-Control  Evidence shows that those with low self control are likely not only to commit crime, but also have many problems including traffic accidents, time in the emergency room; crime victimization; excess smoking and drinking etc.  Self-control also applies to paying attention, making goals, avoiding procrastination Those With Greater Self-Control Still Need Extra Reminders  Makes more sense to talk about assisted self-control with everyday life helping peers get along  Most needs reminders to follow rules  Reminder is nothing more than a cue designed for people who have a good deal of self-control and are basically inclined to follow the law Stigmas Are Poor Substitute for Environmental Cues  People use careless stigmas based on looks, guesses, skin color, or sloppy rumors  Stigmas encourage community to build walls against those they think are the criminal race or group, while letting the others do whatever they want  Careless stigma’s interfere with crime control by misleading us about who is the problem Making Sense of Crimes that Seem Irrational Violence Too, Results From Decisions o Robbery perhaps easiest violent crime to explain o Tedeschi and Felson claim that all violence is instrumental o They deny that any violence is expressive and with a violent act an offender can:  Get others to comply with his wishes  Restore justice as he perceives it  Assert and protect his self image o They show that various principles of social psychology can explain violent incidents easily o Violence requires neither a unique theory nor an elaborate one and can be explained with the three instrumental explanations listed above Crimes That Seem Bizarre  Kim Rossmo has shown that serial killers and rapists no matter how bizarre they may seem have a very practical modus operandi  They clearly make decisions, search for targets etc.  Consider blunder sequence on why a criminal may act if he or she does not know where crime will lead: o A robber accosts a man alone and demands money o The victim gives him a dollar o The offender gets mad, shoots the victim, grabs the wallet o The offender runs away, only to find the empty wallet o The victim dies from gunshot wound chapter 4: Bringing Crime to You  Comparison of all campuses being a community that have four elements: like a village, like a town, like a city, or like a suburb Four Stages in The History of Everyday Life  The village o Most people travelled by foot o Less than 250 people usually o People owned fewer things o Local crime unlikely o Villagers suffered from marauding bandits and highway robbers  The Town o Horses were domesticated o Populations exceed 10,000 o Local crime limited o Horses made speedy raids possible o Horses and wagons became target for crime  The Convergent City o Technology advances o Docks and warehouses important crime targets o Cities grew greatly in size o Drew far more strangers into mutual contact with greater risk of property or violent crime  The Divergent Metropolis o Cars allowed people to travel further and wider o No longer limited to rail roads o Ability to supervise space and property declined o Auto theft problem Life And Crime In The Convergent City  The convergent city provided not only crime opportunities but also sources of control Safe Aspects of the Convergent City o Might seem risky but its crowds of people allowed for more supervision o Vehicles such as public transport decreased risk of crime o Had a chance to design and control space to minimize urban crime Risky Aspects of the Convergent City o People still posed threats through exposure to strangers o easy to pick pockets o helped thief get back into the public without drawing too much attention o public transport is safe but generated crime in certain ways o the stations and bus stops were not always safe o alcohol problems greater in rural cities o provided excellent opportunities to mismanage parks, street corners, and other public places o provide both security and crime The Urban Village-A Low-Crime Area o combining ideas and observations of Jacobs and Gans, an urban village provided:  state ethnicity  stable residency  new entrants recognized from the past  home ownership, even if homes were tiny  narrow st
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