1: Social Problems Professor Robinson December 10, 2012 | Group Three Elaine Demke Kristine Meggenberg Lindsey Rinaldi Kristen St. John | Crime Scene Tape | Crime After Crime
2: Property crime comprises of “taking money or property from another without force or the threat of force against the victims (Leon-Guerrero, 2011). The overall property crime rate increased 11% between 2010 and 2011 in the United States. An estimated 17.1 million property victimizations occurred in 2011(Victims & Victimization, 2012). Burglary, larceny, and arson are a few examples of property crimes. White-collar crime is a “crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation” (Leon-Guerrero, 2011). There are three categories of white-collar crimes: those committed by an offender of high social status and respectability, crimes for financial or economic gain, and crimes in an organization or business. Examples of white-collar crime are credit card fraud, insurance fraud, mail fraud, embezzlement and tax evasion. | Property Crimes | White Collar Crime
3: Cybercrime is the most widespread form of white-collar crimes. On November 9, 2010 the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received its two-millionth consumer complaint of online criminal activity (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2010).Only 10% of those who break into government controlled computers and those of private companies are caught by the government. Juvenile delinquency refers to youth (7-17 years old) in trouble with the law. In 2008, 2.11 million juveniles were arrested. Half of all juvenile arrests involved larceny-theft, drug abuse violations, disorderly conduct and liquor law violations. The majority of juvenile offenders are male, however there has been an increase in female juvenile offenders. Juvenile delinquency has been linked to the absence of bonds to society and or lack of social control(Leon-Guerrero, 2011). | Cyber Crime | Juvie Orange Jumpers
4: Violent crimes are “actions that involve force or the threat of force against others and includes aggravated assault, murder rape, and robbery” (Leon-Guerrero, 2011). In 2011, an estimated 5.8 million violent victimizations occurred in the United States. The overall rate for violent crimes increased 17% between 2010 and 2011. It increased from 19.3 to 22.5 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older. An estimated 14,612 people in the United States were victims of homicide. Compared to all other age groups 18 to 24 year olds had the highest rate of violent victimization in 2011. | Violent Crime
6: Breakdown of the Possible Punishments | Punishments
7: Crime transpires in a variety of ways. It is typically thought of as violent acts against another human being, and while this is true, crime does not have to be violent. A crime is “any behavior that violates criminal law and is punishable by fine, jail, or other negative sanctions” (Leon-Guerrero, 2011). It is divided into two legal categories, which are felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies are serious offenses, including murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault; these crimes are punishable by more than a year's imprisonment or death. Misdemeanors are minor offenses, such as traffic violations, petty theft, disturbing the peace, and drunkenness in public. They are punishable by a fine or less than a year in jail. While biological and psychological theories address how crime is determined by individual characteristics or predispositions to crime, they fail to explain why crime rates vary between urban and rural areas, different neighborhoods, or social or economic groups. Sociological theories attempt to address these issues, highlighting how larger social forces contribute to crime. Sociological theories are divided into four different perspectives: functional, conflict, feminist, and interactionist. First, there is the functionalist perspective. Functionalists believe that the disjunction between cultural goals and structural impediments is the cause of crime. They offer several explanations for criminal behavior, most of them based on Robert K. Merton's Strain Theory of Criminal ehavior. This theory argues that we are socialized to attain traditional material and social goals, and people feel strained when they are exposed to these goals but do not have access or resources to achieve them. This disjunction between cultural goals and structural impediments is anomic, and this is where crime is bred.
8: UCR Statistics
9: Based on this theory, scholars argue that criminal activity would decline if economic conditions improved. A functionalist solution would be to create more programs that focus on youth who come from lower income families. These youth programs would provide classes and activities that develop leadership, teamwork, work ethics, and communication. It would also be beneficial to develop programs that help people develop skills, tools and connections to further or develop a profitable career. A campaign should be created to change societies perspective of what is necessary to be happy. The campaign would encourage and teach people that money is not necessary to make a person feel successful or happy. Another option would simply target strained groups, providing access to traditional methods and resources to attain goals. An additional functionalist explanation for crime links social control, or the lack of it, to criminal behavior. While Merton's theory focuses on why someone commits a crime, social control theorists ask why someone does not commit crime. According to sociologist Travis Hirschi, society controls our behavior through four elements: attachments (our personal relationships with others); commitment (our acceptance of conventional goals and means); involvement (our participation in conventional activities); and beliefs (our acceptance of conventional values and norms). When all these elements are strong, criminal behavior is unlikely to occur. Second, there is the conflict perspective. Conflict theorists argue that criminal laws do not exist for our own good; rather, they exist to preserve the interests and power of specific groups. From this view, criminality is a way to define a person's social status according to how that person is perceived and treated by law enforcement. An act is not inherently criminal; society defines it that way. Therefore, problems
10: emerge when particular groups are disadvantaged by the criminal justice systems. Although the powerful are able to resist criminal labels, the labels seem to stick to minority power groups; the poor, youth, and ethnic minorities. Those who follow the conflict perspective believe people in positions of power create laws to benefit themselves. This causes laws to be unfairly applied to others. In attempts to fix this problem, positions of power should not be paid for their services. These positions should also be fairly distributed among all social classes. This in turn would negate any unfair distribution of power. Next, there is the feminist perspective. For a long time, criminology ignored the experiences of women, choosing to apply theories and models of male criminality to women. Feminist scholars attempt to understand how women's criminal experiences are different from those of men and how experiences of women differ from each other based on race, ethnicity, class, age, and sexual orientation. One explanation for this is the “liberation approach”, which states that as gender equality increases, women are more likely to commit crime. Other explanations are based on gender inequality theories, which suggest that patriarchal power relations shape gender differences in crime, pushing women into criminal behavior through role entrapment, economic marginalization, and victimization or as a survival response. The creation of laws and sentencing is dominated by the male sex. It would be beneficial for both sexes and all ethnicities if more positions of power were given to women of varying ethnicities. This would bring different perspectives into power giving everyone a better opportunity for a fair opportunity in life.
11: Finally, there is the interactionist perspective. Interactionists examine the process that defines certain individuals and acts as criminal. Labeling theory suggests that it isn’t the criminals or their acts that are important, but rather, the audience that labels the persons or their acts as criminal. This supports John Braithwaite’s observation that nations with low crime rates are those where shaming has great social power. Henry Brownstein argued that race and class also matter in our perception of crime. It matters in how we conceptualize victims and offenders, even whether we believe that a person could have been a perpetrator or a victim of violence. Interactionists also attempt to explain how deviant or criminal behavior is learned through association with others. Sutherland’s theory of differential association states that individuals are likely to commit deviant acts if they associate with others who are deviants. It would be beneficial to strongly enforce disallowing groups of known criminals their right to assembly. Law enforcement should be specifically trained to be able to identify those who are known criminals. An extreme measure in prevention of crime would be to have teachers and parents discourage or disallow children from interacting with known deviant children. Each perspective has it's own opinions and beliefs, and it's our job to decide which one we associate with. However, you aren't limited to only agreeing with one of the perspectives. Some of us may agree with a certain theory in one aspect, but think that another perspective is correct in other areas. This is one of the most fun parts of understanding our society; we get to discover what we believe and learn more about ourselves in the process. There are things that we need to do as a society to better ourselves and keep the crime levels down, but it's going to take patience and understanding to get there.
12: Anti Crime
13: Works Cited Leon-Guerrero, A. (2011). Social Problems: Community, Policy, and Social Action. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications. Office of Justice Programs.Victims & Victimization. Retrieved December, 7, 2012, from CrimeSolutions.gov, http://www.crimesolutions.gov/topicdetails.aspx?id=8. Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2010). Internet Crime Complaint Center Reaches 2 Million Entries. http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/ic3_111510 Photos AntiCrime. N.d. Photograph. Bvinews. Web. 8 Dec. 2012.
14: Violent Crime. N.d. Photograph. Legislaw. Web. 8 Dec. 2012.