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AS and A Level: Crime & Deviance

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Top five crime and deviance theoretical viewpoints

  1. 1 Functionalism – small amounts of crime are inevitable and in fact crime has some functions for society (Durkheim); higher amounts of crime and deviance may be the result of anomie (Durkheim) or strain (Merton).
  2. 2 Marxism – the working class DO NOT necessarily commit more crime than the ruling class; corporate crime and white collar crime are underrepresented in crime figures (Croall); the crimes the working class carry out can be justified as part of a political struggle against capitalism (Box).
  3. 3 Left Realism – crime in working class areas should be considered carefully as the working class are over represented as victims; crime occurs if people suffer relative deprivation, marginalization (social, political and economic) and live in areas with deviant subcultures (Lea and Young).
  4. 4 Right Realism – People carry out crimes when the benefits outweigh the costs (Clarke); Single parent families often produce criminal or deviant offspring (Murray); zero tolerance policing would improve crime rates (Wilson).
  5. 5 Feminism – women are often excluded and ignored in discussions about crime (Heidensohn); women are often victims of crime and that issue needs consideration (Smart); women are increasingly committing crime.

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  1. The purpose of crime scene investigation is to help establish what happened at the crime

    It is no exaggeration to say that in the majority of cases, the law enforcement officer who protects and searches a crime scene plays a significant role in determining whether physical evidence will be used in solving or prosecuting violent crimes. Documenting a crime scene and its conditions can include directly recording brief details such as lighting, furniture, fingerprints, and other valuable information. Certain evidence if not collected right away can easily be lost, destroyed or ruined. The range of investigations can also expand to the fact of dispute in such cases as suicide or self-defense.

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  2. Assess the usefulness of participant observation as a sociological methods

    This was explained in the new police instructions published in the Times newspaper in September 1829, (in Muncie and McLaughlin 2002 Ch 1 p.28) which stated, "it should be understood from the outset that the object to be obtained is the prevention of crime". [and] .."the preservation of public tranquillity" This type of policing was considered essential to protect law-abiding citizens from the disorderly underclass such the poor, beggars, drunks and the homeless predominantly in urban areas. It was also felt that it would also provide the opportunity to detect crime if certain areas were targeted.

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  3. The Scarlet Letter is a study of the effects of sin on the hearts and minds of Hester, Dimmesdale and Chillingworth!"

    The Scarlet Letter is a study of the effects of sin on the hearts and minds the three main characters in this novel, Hester, Dimmesdale and Chillingworth. In every case the effects of sin are both devastating and tragic! The moment these three characters stumble into their evil doings they spend the rest of their time floundering around like lost souls searching for ways to deal with the guilt of sin on their minds. Throughout Hawthorne's anecdote we witness how sin changes the sinners.

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  4. Studies of the effectiveness of punishments often use reconviction rates as a measurement of success or failure. According to fairly recent reports there are currently no real differences between reconviction rates for custodial and all community penalti

    It is clear then, that any evaluation of the effectiveness of a prison and community punishment need to be judged against a range of criteria other than the simple adding up of reconviction rates. This is a difficult task when considering what the crimes of punishment should be. Thoughts that spring to mind include, rehabilitation, incarceration, reintegration, protection, treatment, cost effectiveness, fair administration, deterrence, adequate punishment, and most of all reducing crime. However, for the purpose of this essay effectiveness will be discussed within the context of how prison and community can; Rehabilitate Offenders Protect the Public Be Cost Effective

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  5. Crime and Ethnicity

    Also the figures show me that more then half (58%) of all Afro Caribbean arrests come from the metropolitan police area. A reason for this could be that when people emigrate from a foreign country they do not speak the language, or any qualifications. When they arrive then normally settle around there own people near a port or river in the center, in this case London. This creates an ethnic ghetto, which often has high crime, unemployment, and low educational qualifications. As the white population has gone through this they are no longer in ethnic ghettos so they have lower unemployment, crime, and higher educational qualifications.

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  6. To what extent is Robert Merton's theory of 'anomie' helpful in understanding crime in contemporary society?

    His theory suggested that criminals were born and not made therefore, where genetically prone to criminality. Merton's argument was to the contrary. Rather than observing the individual criminal as being subhuman, he questioned societies influence on the individual. In his 1968 book, Merton argued that 'it no longer appears to be so obvious that man is set against society in an unceasing war between biological impulse and social restraint. The image of man as an untamed bundle of impulses begins to look like a caricature rather than a portrait.1 Sociological theories on crime and deviance, have always disagreed with the idea of biology being the cause of societies problems and thus, would rather emphasize the influence of external societal factors on the causes of crime.

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  7. Describe the concept of a 'Moral Panic' and explain how this may impact on publics perceptions of crime

    Some examples of media moral panics include; internet p*********y, violence in video games, immigration, single parents etc... Moral panics can affect the public's perceptions of crime in many ways, making the extent of crime appear much higher than it actually is. The rest of this paper will endeavour to look deeper into the concept of a 'moral panic'; explaining how they might have an influence upon the public's perception of crime. As mentioned earlier Stanley Cohen (1972) is one of prominent sociologists that devised the term 'moral panic'. He defined the concept as 'A sporadic episode which, as it occurs, subject's society to bouts of moral panic, or in other terms, worries about the values and principles which society upholds which may be in jeopardy' (Cohen, 1987; 9).

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  8. What can be learned about the extent of crime from official

    The statistics given are based on a large representative sample of the general public about their experiences as victims of household and personal crime. The BCS endeavours to provide a count of crime that consists of episodes not reported to the police, therefore examining the "dark figure" of crime which is not recorded in official statistics. The rest of this paper will endeavour to look deeper in to the concept of 'official' crime statistics, taking into account their validity and reliability.

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  9. Literature Review: The Impact of Heroin Prices on Robbery Trends

    4 Although acquisitive property crime came second to the drug market in terms of average weekly wage, the average income was $782 per week, with an annual average income of approximately $40,664.5 The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) further verify this link between drugs and property crime, estimating that the number of heroin users in Australia has increased from approximately 670 in 1967 to about 67,000 in 1997. Consequently, as Figure 1 reveals, the robbery rate has increased significantly from 1966.6 BOCSAR has also studied other possible causes for this increase in robbery, such as an increase in male unemployment.

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    This paper will discuss the view that 'drug offences are victimless crimes and should be treated as such'. In the short scope of this paper it will be my intention to focus on the UK drugs market. I will explain what is meant by 'victimless' crimes. I will focus on how controlled drugs are currently governed in the UK, some of the social costs in terms of criminal justice and health and the 'knock-on' effects to the community. Crime can be defined simply as a violation of the criminal law.

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  11. "Prison makes bad people worse". Critically evaluate this statement in the light of rising prison numbers.

    The purpose of prison is now not only to inflict a punishment but also to attempt to rehabilitate offenders contrasting with the early days of imprisonment where little rehabilitative work was done. A custodial sentence is now the most severe penalty that an offender can be sentenced to in the UK following the abolition of the death penalty in 1965. Imprisonment is intended to punish offenders through restricting freedom and liberty as well as unfavourable living conditions in the name of 'less eligibility', (Morgan, 2002).

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  12. Discuss the nature and extent of heroin addiction and acquisitive crime in the UK.

    Withdrawal syndrome in heroin users is caused by cellular neuro adaptation to heroin. It is also appropriate to point out the background of most heroin users. Bean (2002) notes of the majority of heroin users are working class and/or unemployed, the 'socio-economic status of this group puts them at high risk of criminality'. The two points of, withdrawal syndrome, experienced by dependant users and their background relate to the first of three theories that will be outlined in this paper, explaining the link between heroin addiction crime.

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  13. The Application Of Forensic Science In the Detection of Crime

    In this case a single strand of Sarah's hair was found on Roy Whitting's sweatshirt and matching fibres from his were found on her shoe. The method of extracting the DNA from the sample is a complex one. DNA must be extracted from the sample of body tissue or fluid. Some offences that are committed rely almost solely on forensic evidence such as that of r**e. If s***n is discovered and recognised as that of the suspect then that is nearly a conclusive result.

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  14. Crime Statistics or Criminal Statistics?

    Criminal statistics in England and Wales as produced annually by the Home Office are compiled from Police and Court records. These figures have been compiled since 1856 (Briggs, Harrison, McInnes & Vincent, 1998), when court proceedings were first documented. To formulate modern statistics the Police draw figures from notifiable offences, crimes reported and recorded, but there would appear to be a lot of latitude in determining what constitutes a recordable offence. Some reported crimes could be seen as trivial or unimportant enough to record and investigate such as vandalism or littering.

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    As a conclusion I will consider how central crime reduction and performance targets inform local initiatives in this area Recorded crime has more than trebled in Britain during the last twenty years. In 1970 there were 1.6 million crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales, (a combined population about 50 million) increasing to 5.4 million crimes in 1992 and an estimated 13 million in 20001. This has undoubtedly concentrated the minds of politicians, researchers, community activists, and government officers.

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  16. The labeling perspective presents us with a whole new idea of crime.

    People without power are labelled by those with power. Crime is thought to be determined socially, and the definitions of crime reflect the current social and moral values. However, the argument is that criminal law is designed to suit the ambitions of those with wealth and power and it is these people who impose their rules on society. Frank Tannenbaum (1938) is widely regarded as the person who introduced the labelling approach. He came up with a 'dramatisation of evil hypothesis whereby a community first defines the actions of an individual as evil, but eventually goes on to define the

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  17. 'If the government wants to make a serious impact on the crime problem it should concentrate resources not on tackling street crime but on violence in the family home'. Discuss.

    Today, many people contradict their worries still believing that cities and their residents, harbour, or are, criminals, and moral panics along with historical and media discourses, (in particular, national tabloids) are hugely responsible for instilling fear in the public. This information in turn, leaves many people carrying this information in their thoughts on a daily basis, stereotyping where it may not even be necessary. Nevertheless, the public clearly want to read about what is going on in their country or newspapers would not sell, and for those who live in run down council estates, that lack proper facilities, policing, and

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  18. 'Crime is both deterred and prevented by the use of imprisonment.' Discuss

    The Penalty system involves institutions and agencies such as prisons and probation services, but it also incorporates other social factors such as economical stability, political, intellectual and cultural conditions. Penal transformation in modes of punishment and social control meant that prisoners had to undergo a process of penance in order to pay back for their crimes, they were classified into groups according to their crimes and put to work and they had to work their hardest. They were to virtually finance themselves by working in the prisons on products and services advantageous to the rest of society.

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  19. 'Crime is a real problem that must be taken seriously by criminologists.' Discuss

    Realism does not completely dispel the public stereotypes of crime or the fear society has regarding crime. Criminologists in the past have commented that criminality is a voluntary course of action chosen by the individual who is said to have come from poor social conditions and social reform was the only solution to reducing the crime rate, this was implemented in the 60's and 70's with the notion that this would reduce crime, in reality the opposite happened, the crime rate soared.

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  20. Criminology can be considered a hybrid of various other sciences.

    In some cultures abortion is still illegal, whilst in this country it is not. Differing opinions of crime and its categories, which plague international comparisons, arise from such factors as differences in judicial systems, cultural interpretations of specific activities, and social or economic conditions. Crime as defined by the encyclopaedia Britannica is: "the intentional commission of an act usually deemed socially harmful or dangerous and specifically defined, prohibited, and punishable under the criminal law." Criminology is defined by the same source as: "the scientific study of the non legal aspects of crime including juvenile delinquency.

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  21. Criminal justice policy.

    The idea of restorative justice is to work with people in their communities in the aftermath of crime in order for victims and offenders to meet and make amends. The aim of restorative justice is the consultation, which involves the three youths involved in this case study, seeking to rectify the harm they caused to Mrs Mathers. Its process is based upon a 'shaming factor', on the basis that it would also prevent juvenile from re-offending. It requires the victim, the community and the offender to meet in a safe setting.

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  22. The role of the Chamber of Commerce is to act on behalf of its members at local and national levels.

    white collar crime 2. corporate crime 3. organised crime White Collar Crime: White collar offences are quite often committed by those who hold a fairly high status, or enjoy a certain level of trust within a company they are employed by. Their legitimate employment makes it possible for these white collar criminals to commit certain types of crime; these crimes often involve embezzlement of company funds and fraud. SUCH FRAUDSTERS INCLUDE: * Nick Leeson: Jailed for his part in the collapse of the Bearings Bank, Leeson fraudulently embezzled around 1.3bn and was given a jail sentence of six and a half years.

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  23. 'A nation stalked by FEAR' (The Sun, 17th July 2002). What can the study of newspaper coverage of official crime statistics tell us about the problem of crime?

    'A nation stalked by FEAR' (The Sun, 17th July 2002) is an article written by Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun newspaper, a tabloid newspaper whose audiences are working-class families living in inner city areas, that have been a victim or a witness to crime. Within the headlines it highlights that r**e cases are up by 27%, violent crime up by 22% and drug offences up by 16%. The Sun states that its readers were fearful of becoming victims of crime; this was reinforced by the disturbing statistics shown.

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  24. How might we best explain the rise of the prison as a replacement for other punishments?

    With both of these methods of punishment problems developed, in the early nineteenth century crime was predominantly in London and industrial cities. The increased urbanisation and industrialism causing large numbers of people to move to cities meant that people became less familiar with those around them and no longer knew their neighbours. These factors helped to increase people's perceptions of crime, which were especially prevalent among respectable people. Crime statistics show a steady and large increase in the numbers of trials and convictions, 'from roughly 11, 000, 000 to 16, 500, 000'1in the years 1801 to 1831, an increase of approximately fifteen times.

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  25. Environmental factors that affect offenders and victims.

    Robert Park and Ernest Burgess introduced an ecological analysis of crime causation. Ecology is the study of animals and plants and how they relate to one another in their natural habitat. Park and Burgess then examined area characteristics instead of criminals for their explanations of high crime. They developed the idea of natural urban areas, which consisted of concentric zones which extended out from downtown central business district to the commuter zone at the fringes of the city. Each zone had its own structure and organisation, characteristics and unique inhabitants. This was known as Burgess' Concentric Zone Theory.

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