• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Realist approaches are unlike any other approach. They don't concentrate on the causes or crime and why people commit crime, instead they emphasise solving crime, which requires practical solutions

Extracts from this document...


Realist approaches are unlike any other approach. They don't concentrate on the causes or crime and why people commit crime, instead they emphasise solving crime, which requires practical solutions. They argue that other theories have made no contributions in trying to solve crime. They criticize other approaches for, sympathising and romanticising with the criminal, ignoring the victims of crime and the damage they suffer and failing to produce practical solutions to crime. However, there are two approaches to realism. New right realism and new left realism. These two approaches are from very different roots. Right realists believe that people make rational choices to commit crime. They suggest that people will choose to commit crime when the opportunity or situation is there and the benefits of the crime outweigh the costs. In support of these views is James Q Wilson, 'In thinking about crime' (1975). Wilson provides the practical solutions to these concerns by suggesting that harsher sentences and more police are the answer to crime. Therefore if punishments were greater and there was a greater chance of getting caught then less people would commit crime. However, controversially Wilson believes that such an approach can have only a limited impact. In reality, the chances of getting caught for a particular crime are small. If offenders believe that they are not going to get caught, or if punishments only take place long after offences then even serve penalties will not discourage people. Another contribution that the right realists make to the study of crime is the argument to prevent the disintegration of communities. Where strong communities exist, they can deter crime, because people who are disgraced by being involved in crime will loose their standing in the community. ...read more.


Young concluded that 'women are not only less likely to go out after dark, but also stay in more than men because of fear of crime.' However, criticising these victimisation surveys is Stephen Jones (1998). Jones believes that the emphasis on street crime means that left realists are neglecting corporate crime. Therefore they are in fact helping to continue the capitalist system by ignoring the crimes of the rich and powerful and co-operating with the government. Similarly feminists criticise left realists for ignoring particular problems of crime for women. Nevertheless left realists do not deny the importance of white-collar crime and corporate crime and accept that they are commonplace and serious. Therefore Lea and Young answered their criticisms in recent victimization studies by including questions on such crimes. However, in return they attack back at Marxist views by suggesting they concentrate too much on these types of crimes and exclude others. Left realists have also answered feminist criticisms by including questions in victim studies on crimes such as sexual assaults, sexual harassment and domestic violence. Another contribution that left realists make to the role of crime is their explanation for ethnic crime. Just as they believe that the official statistics on the rise in crime reflect a real change, they also believe that statistics on ethnic offenders are not entirely untrue. Evidence of this is supported by Lea and Young, who attack Gilroy's statement that the disproportionate number of black males convicted of crimes in Britain was caused by police racism. Lea and Young argue that it is difficult to believe that the predominance of blacks in the official figures is entirely a consequence of discrimination by the police. ...read more.


While also, they take the victim's accounts of their fear of crime and do not ask the victims of the causes of crime, where instead they impose their own explanations. Furthermore, left realists only really take account of the views of certain types of victims. Their studies have been concentrated on urban areas where crime rates are high. This might give a misleading impression of how harmful crime is, since it neglects suburban and rural areas where crime has much less of an impact on people's lives. Also criticising left realists are right realists. In particular Wilson, attacks of what he took to be a conventional view about crime amongst social scientists and denies that trying to get rid of poverty will lead to major reductions in crime. He points out the many poor people, e.g. those who are sick or elderly do not commit crimes, and so poverty itself cannot be considered a cause of crime. In conclusion, the contribution realist theories make to crime is a very complex one. Left and Right realism both emphasise that it is why people commit crime and the practical solutions to crime that is important, but they both stem very different ideas. Right realism focuses on the emphasis of social control, the legal system being too weak and the victims not protecting themselves enough. While left realism stresses the importance of finding the real reasons why people commit crime and the role of poverty and crime. Therefore even though left and right realists both concentrate on the victims of crime and how to solve crime there solutions couldn't be more different. Outline and Assess the contribution of realist theories to the study of crime Page 1 of 6 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Asses the arguments and evidence which suggest women commit much less crime than men

    4 star(s)

    Heidensohn has also said that women are scared to go out in public in fear of being attacked or raped; especially after the dark as shown in the Islington crime survey (1986) where 54 per cent were women and 14 per cent were men.

  2. Sociological Theories on Crime and Deviance

    Poverty Postmodern feminists such as Naffine (1987) claim that changes in global economies have given rise to a 'pink-collar ghetto' of insecure, low wage, part time jobs. It is suggested then that women employed in the 'pink-collar ghetto' engage in petty crime because of economic necessity.

  1. Critically Compare and Contrast Functionalist and Traditional Marxist Perspectives On Crime.

    Hirschi supported Durkheim's explanations, however he asked the question why don't people commit and not why people do.

  2. Assess The Contribution Of Control Theory To Our Understanding Of Crime And Criminality

    Lombroso believed in the "criminal born" man and woman. He believed they had physical features of ape like creatures that were not fully developed as humans were. Lombroso believed that criminality is a trait produced in humans as a consequence of a particular form of genetic inheritance. Lombroso`s work aimed to identify a difference between criminals and non criminals.

  1. Evaluate the Two approaches (FBI and David Canter) to the profiling of offenders.

    was too unrepresentative. Although statistical approaches such as those of David Canter may have their weaknesses, they are at least transparent and allow other researchers to replicate studies and to test other, possibly competing, hypotheses. Nevertheless, FBI approaches has no doubted that made a valuable contribution to our understanding of

  2. describe four studies relating to crime and deviance - each from a different perspective. ...

    which had significantly increased during the 1950's and mid 60's but yet had not been highlighted and portrayed as a 'moral panic' then. Hall viewed the government and media's sudden preoccupation with street crime as an excuse to legitimise an increase in police power particularly with regards to black youths from lower class areas.

  1. Caderousse principal crime was to be an accomplice to Fernand and Danglars.

    Finally his impoverishment becomes critical when he is captured by Luigi Vampa and is obliged to pay high sums for his meals. In the reader's opinion Danglars punishment was very adequate for his crime, because the committed felony to acquire ambition which later on he gained converting into a Baron filled with money.

  2. Why do people commit crime?

    This is furthered by the Rape Crisis Federation?s statistics: 97% of callers to Rape Crisis Federation knew their attacker prior to the attack. This suggests that victims are not always likely to inform the police about the attack. This may be due to feelings of guilt, shame, or hopelessness because rape convictions are so rare.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work