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Friday, November 2, 2018

Sociological Crime Theories VII

Sociological Crime Theories VII
Social Disorganization Theory The leading sociological theories focus on the immediate social environment, like the family, peer group, and school. And they are most concerned with explaining why some individuals are more likely to engage in crime than others. Much recent theoretical work, however, has also focused on the larger social environment, especially the community 282 and the total society. This work usually attempts to explain why some groups—like communities and societies—have higher crime rates than other groups. In doing so, however, this work draws heavily on the central ideas of control, social learning, and strain theories. Social disorganization theory seeks to explain community differences in crime rates (see Robert Sampson and W. Bryon Groves; Robert Bursik and Harold Grasmick). The theory identifies the characteristics of communities with high crime rates and draws on social control theory to explain why these characteristics contribute to crime. Crime is said to be more likely in communities that are economically deprived, large in size, high in multiunit housing like apartments, high in residential mobility (people frequently move into and out of the community), and high in family disruption (high rates of divorce, singleparent families). These factors are said to reduce the ability or willingness of community residents to exercise effective social control, that is, to exercise direct control, provide young people with a stake in conformity, and socialize young people so that they condemn delinquency and develop self-control. The residents of high crime communities often lack the skills and resources to effectively assist others. They are poor and many are single parents struggling with family responsibilities. As such, they often face problems in socializing their children against crime and providing them with a stake in conformity, like the skills to do well in school or the connections to secure a good job. These residents are also less likely to have close ties to their neighbors and to care about their community. They typically do not own their own homes, which lowers their investment in the community. They may hope to move to a more desirable community as soon as they are able, which also lowers their investment in the community. And they often do not know their neighbors well, since people frequently move into and out of the community. As a consequence, they are less likely to intervene in neighborhood affairs—like monitoring the behavior of neighborhood residents and sanctioning crime. Finally, these residents are less likely to form or support community organizations, including educational, religious, and recreational organizations. This is partly a consequence of their limited resources and lower attachment to the community. This further reduces control, since these organizations help exercise direct control, provide people with a stake in conformity, and socialize people. Also, these organizations help secure resources from the larger society, like better schools and police protection. Recent data provide some support for these arguments. 283 Social disorganization theorists and other criminologists, such as John Hagan, point out that the number of communities with characteristics conducive to crime—particularly high concentration of poor people— has increased since the 1960s. These communities exist primarily in inner city areas and they are populated largely by members of minority groups (due to the effects of discrimination). Such communities have increased for several reasons. First, there has been a dramatic decline in manufacturing jobs in central city areas, partly due to the relocation of factories to suburban areas and overseas. Also, the wages in manufacturing jobs have become less competitive, due to factors like foreign competition, the increase in the size of the work force, and the decline in unions. Second, the increase in very poor communities is due to the migration of many working- and middle-class African Americans to more affluent communities, leaving the poor behind. This migration was stimulated by a reduction in discriminatory housing and employment practices. Third, certain government policies—like the placement of public housing projects in inner-city communities and the reduction of certain social services—have contributed to the increased concentration of poverty. SELF ASSESSMENT EXERCISE 1 Summarise the social disorganisation theory of crime. 3.2 Sociological Crime Theories VIII In criminology, the Rational Choice Theory adopts a utilitarian belief that man is a reasoning actor who weighs means and ends, costs and benefits, and makes a rational choice. In democratic countries, like that of the United States or United Kingdom, the broad appeal of both liberal and rationalist philosophies has steadily led to the strengthening in importance of the Western Hemisphere's overall ideological premise from the point of view of defending the ideas of John Stuart Mill, the founder of Utilitarianism. It is easier to accept on civil grounds that after what political decisions are made to further expand upon industrial ventures, it would be safe to assume that due to the historical position of technology in shaping the identity of cities and conurbations, many people through their successful adaption to the kinds of environmental changes that the offset by capitalism brings, excel in ways that allow for further ascensions to be achieved towards the notion of territories becoming identified as adopting nationality. 284 Rational Choice Theory has sprung from older and more experimental collections of hypothesis surrounding what have been essentially, the empirical findings from many scientific investigations into the workings of human nature. The conceiving and semblance of these social models which are hugely applicable to the methodology expressed through the function of microeconomics within society are also similarly placed to demonstrate that a sizable amount of data is collated using behavioural techniques which are tweaked and made adjustable in order to ensure compatibly with the spontaneous motivational drives displayed by the consumer. The theory is related to earlier Drift Theory (Matza: 1964) where people use the techniques of neutralisation to drift in and out of delinquent behaviour, and the Systematic Crime Theory (an aspect of Social Disorganisation Theory developed by the Chicago School), where Edwin Sutherland proposed that the failure of families and extended kin groups expands the realm of relationships no longer controlled by the community, and undermines governmental controls. This leads to persistent "systematic" crime and delinquency. He also believed that such disorganisation causes and reinforces the cultural traditions and cultural conflicts that support antisocial activity. The systematic quality of the behaviour was a reference to repetitive, patterned or organised offending as opposed to random events. He depicted the law-abiding culture as dominant as and more extensive than alternative criminogenic cultural views and capable of overcoming systematic crime if organised for that purpose (1939: 8). In a similar vein, Cohen and Felson (1979) developed Routine Activities Theory which focuses on the characteristics of crime rather than the characteristics of the offender. This is one of the main theories of environmental criminology as an aspect of Crime Prevention Theory. It states that for a crime to occur, three elements must be present, i.e. there must be: 1. an available and suitable target; 2. a motivated offender; and 3. no authority figure to prevent the crime from happening. Routine Activities Theory relates the pattern of offending to the everyday patterns of social interaction. Between 1960 and 1980, women left the home to work which led to social disorganisation, i.e. the routine of leaving the home unattended and without an authority figure increased probability of criminal activity. The theory is supplemented by the crime triangle or the problem analysis triangle [1] which is used in the analysis both of a crime problem by reference to the three parameters of victim, location, and offender, and of an intervention 285 strategy by reference to the parameters of target/victim, location and absence of a capable guardian with the latter helping to think more constructively about responses as well as analysis

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