CHAPTER THREE NOTES.
Text book notes only.
• There are some greedy and immoral people who do not hesitate to use illegal means to get what
• Criminals weigh the potential benefits and consequences of their acts
o They consider: the chances of arrest, the subjective psychic rewards of crime, perceived
opportunities for easy gains
• Crime is a matter of rational choice in this view
• To deter the commission of crime, punishment must be sufficiently strict, sure, and swift to outweigh
any benefits of law violation
• Deterrent effect: the assumed ability of the threat of criminal sanctions to discourage crime before it
• Burglars seem to prefer working between 9 AM and 11 AM and in the mid-afternoon
• Armed robbers choose targets close to their homes or in areas they routinely travel (awareness
Situational Crime Prevention
1. Increase the effort needed to commit the crime. (Unbreakable glass on storefronts, locking gates and
fencing yards, controlling sale of spray paint.)
2. Increase the risks of committing the crime. (Improving lighting, alarms, number of police patrols.)
3. Reduce the rewards for committing the crime. (Personalizing property to make it difficult to resell.)
4. Induce shame or guilt. (Publishing John lists in the news paper.)
5. Reduce provocation. (Early closing times for bars.)
6. Remove excuses. (Flashes speed signs.)
• General deterrence: a crime control policy that depends on the fear of criminal penalties.
o the death penalty seems to have little effect on the murder rate.
o More serious crimes such as homicide are harder to discourage than minor crimes.
o About 20 percent of serious reported crimes result in an arrest—lack of efficiency in the
o Greed often overcomes fear.
o A majority of arrested criminals are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, therefore they
may be incapable of having rational thought patterns—makes deterrents ineffective.
o Research has so far failed to turn up evidence that the threat of punishment or its
implementation can deter would be criminals • Specific deterrence: punishment severe enough to convince convicted offenders never to repeat
their criminal activity.
o More than 1 in 100 adults are behind bars.
o Experience will shape criminal choices.
o The specific deterrent effects has limits: an experienced offender is less likely to be
influences by a current arrest than a novice.
o History of prior arrests and punishments is the best predictor of recidivism.
o As the extent of punishment increases, so too does the change of recidivism.
o Why have these draconian punishments failed as a specific deterrent?
▪ Specific deterrence assumes a rational criminal—many offenders have impulsive
▪ Being convicted may expose people to more experienced offenders who encourage
them to commit more crime.
▪ Punishment does little to help an already troubled person readjust to society.
▪ Punishment produces anger.
▪ The stigma of prison helps locks offenders into a criminal career.
▪ Criminals who are punished may believe it is unlikely to be caught twice for the
▪ Severe psychological problems as a result..reducing the opportunities for
interaction with law-abiding people.
▪ Punishment may produce defiance, not deterrence.
▪ If money can be made, there will always be someone to take the place of the
• Cesare Lombroso: the origin of scientific criminology
o Criminals manifest atavistic anomalies: primitive, animal like qualities such as an asymmetric
face or excessive jaw, eye defects, large eyes, receding forehead, long arms, twisted nose,
o His views were discredited in the twentieth century and biological explanations of crime
• Biochemical makeup influences behavior, social factors can mitigate its effects; and environmental
factors have an interactive effect.
o Environmental contaminants – PCBs, lead, mercury, and other metals has been shown to
influence brain functioning and intelligence levels. Exposure may lead to cognitive and
learning dysfunctions. o Food products and diet – vitamin and mineral deficiencies, food additives, improper diet
Calcium propionate ( a food preservative) has been linked to problem behaviors. ADHD may
be related to diet: fast foods, processed meats, red meat, dairy, and candy.
o Hypoglycemia – When blood sugar falls below the levels necessary for normal brain
function. Research shows that persistent abnormality in the way the brain metabolizes
glucose is linked to substance abuse.
o Hormones – testosterone: violence and aggression. Low level of cortisol in children tend to
be more violent and antisocial.
o Children who suffer from measurable neurological deficits at birth are believed also to later
suffer from a number of antisocial traits
o Conduct disorder is considered a precursor to long-term chronic offending
o The relationship between impairment in executive brain functions and aggressive behavior is
o Neurotransmitters – chemical substances that carry impulses from one nerve cell to
another. They are found in the space that separates the transmitting neuron’s terminal
(axon) from the receiving neuron’s terminal (dendrite).
▪ Dopamine, serotonin, monoamine oxidase, and gamma aminobutyric acid
are studied in relation to aggression. Abnormal amounts of these chemicals
are associated with aggression.
▪ Studies of habitually violent criminals show that low serotonin levels are
linked with poor impulse control, hyperactivity, increased irritability, and
o ADHD – brain dysfunction; might lead to increased levels of antisocial behavior and
aggression during childhood.
o Ronald Simons and his associates recently found that adolescents who possess a particular
genetic makeup are more likely to adopt an aggressive response to provocation
o The relationship may be direct:
▪ Antisocial behavior is inherited
▪ The genetic makeup of parents is passed on to the children
▪ Genetic abnormality is directly linked to a variety of antisocial behaviors
o Or indirect: genes related to some personality of physical trait that is linked to anti social
behavior o Preliminary studies have shown that monozygotic twins (fraternal) act more similarly than
dizygotic twins do of the same sex.
o Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart – the study revealed some striking similarities in
behavior and ability for twin pairs raised apart. An MZ twin reared away from a co-twin had
about as good a chance of being similar to the co-twin in terms of personality, interests, and
attitudes as one who was reared with the co-twin.
o The creation of Sigmund Freud: some people encounter probles during their early development that
cause an imbalance in their personality.
o Crime and Mental Illness: delinquent adolescents have higher rates of clinical mental illness.
▪ Oppositional defiant disorder—an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and
hostile behavior toward authority figures that seriously interferes with day-to-day
▪ Conduct disorder—great difficulty following rules and behaving in a socially
acceptable way. Bullying, fighting, sexual assaults, and behaving cruelly towards
▪ Clinical depression – Kids who are clinically depressed are more likely to engaged in
a wide variety of delinquent acts.
▪ Alexithymia—deficit in emotional cognition that prevents people from being aware
of their feelings or being able to understand or talk about their thoughts and
emotions has been linked to antisocial behaviors.
o Behavior that is rewarded becomes habitual
o Social learning theory: human behavior is learned through observation of human social interactions,
either directly from those in close proximity or indirectly from the media.
o The way people perceive and mentally represent the world in which they live. How people process
and store information, viewing the operation of human intellect as similar to the way computers
analyze available information.
o Moral development theory—people go through a series of stages beginning early in childhood and
continuing through their adult years Each stage is marked by a different view of right and wrong
Personality and Crime o Antisocial personality: a lack of warmth and feeling, inappropriate behavioral responses, and an
inability to learn from experience (aka sociopath or psychopath). Sufferers usually exh