Exam I Lecture Notes

Exam I Lecture Notes - Jan 15 Questions 1 2 3 4 How much of...

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Jan. 15 Questions: 1. How much of a police officer’s time is spent fighting crime? -10% 2. How many people die from illegal drugs each year? -9,000 – 10,000 3. Felony: a serious criminal offense punishable by a prison term of more than one year. 4. Misdemeanor: A relatively minor criminal offense punishable by less than a year of imprisonment. 5. What percentage of all felonies in a year leads to someone being imprisoned? -10% II. Crime and Media What are some typical images routinely conveyed about crime in the mass media? Violent Scenes About 33% of program time of TV is devoted to crime. (Crime = drama) Types of crime? Those of violence (more sensational) In whose interests? o Perception shaped towards African Americans in Crime III. Fear of Crime Structural correlations: concern the social and physical characteristics of locations in which people live. Population size is a fairly strong predictor of fear of crime (positive association). The larger the population size the greater the fear of crime. Structural Correlates: o Soci-economic status o Gender o Race/Ethnicity o Neighborhood conditions Positive Association: one increase; the other increases.
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Negative Association: one increase; the other decreases. Gender: women more fearful than men, although (with the exception of rape) they are less likely to be victims of various crimes. Race/Ethnicity: fear matches reality; African Americans are more fearful than whites; African Americans are more likely to be crime victims than whites. IV. Sociological Criminology Emphasizes the social roots of crime Crime is not only an individual phenomenon, but also social Individuals commit crime, but their probability of doing so is shaped by social background Sociological perspective has a key social policy implications: if crime is rooted in social organization then crime can be reduced by addressing the social structural roots of criminology Structural criminology: emphasizes role of communities and influence of social location (race/ethnicity, gender, social class, and age—those are elements of social structure) Major distinction : consensus .vs. conflict approaches V. Explanations of Crime Consensus Approaches (Durkheim) o Agreement in opinion on social norms of behavior o Because people agree on how to act, they follow society’s rules because they have internalized these norms, don’t follow laws out of fear of punishment o Crime is any behavior that violates a criminal law; criminal law represents and protects the interests of all members of society. o When crime occurs, this constitutes a norm violation, and punishment of behavior is necessary to ensure social stability (maintains social order) Conflict Approaches (Marx and Engels) o Disagreement on norms of society reflecting position in social structure based on inequality in wealth and power
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o Law defined crimes represent the views of those with power and keep those without power at the bottom of the social structure o
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