Criminology Lecture Notes3

Sutherland did not believe people could learn

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Sutherland did not believe people could learn criminal behavior through media . Reason: media was not as developed before . Imitation: person could learn criminal behavior by seeing it from someone else – person who sees someone receiving positive reinforcement through criminal activity, this person will most likely be more likely to commit crime through the same way . Males who watch violent pornography tend to show much higher levels of aggression and some proclivity to engage in coercive sex . Other types of pornography do not have this kind of effect . Person will only continue criminal behaviors if he is rewarded for such behaviors – a person will only imitate by seeing others rewarded for it . Imitation will only lead to initial experimentation and crime but direct social reinforcement is the only thing that will keep someone committing crime . Akers is focused on action, not definition . Concludes that some kind of definition is not necessary for criminal activity . What Akers does is replace Sutherland’s 6 th proposition with a proposition of differential reinforcement (looks at balance of rewards and punishments associated with different actions) . Person could be rewarded for having these kinds of unfavorable definitions . Discriminative Stimuli – different from linguistic constructs – a person , in looking at some situation, sees characteristics of that setting which triggers in his rational mind the expectation that in that situation, crime will be rewarding . Things that a person sees in a situation that cues the reward that crime offers in that situation (an open window in a house is a discriminative stimuli – person sees the reinforcements in burglary) . Problem . Akers describes how a person describes criminal behavior, but it seems a person must learn one criminal behavior at a time
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. Most criminals don’t specialize in only one crime – need an explanation for why criminal would commit different acts . Akers does provide us with a much more elaborative model for the learning of criminal behavior Lecture 4/2/2012 . Gangs: Fears, Facts, and Theory . Whether something is a gang or whether something is a problem is a problem of perception . “From 1998-2003 gang members committed about 6% of violence crime” – these statistics rely purely on perception – gangs don’t issue membership cards, so inaccurate . These data may measure changing perceptions . It may not be that gang violence is changing, but rather that people perceive gang violence to be changing . “Homicides by gang members” chart by the FBI – see increases in gang related homicides – but law enforcement is the one judging whether a gang was involved in these crimes . Trends of gang violence are not accurate . One problem is defining what is a gang (lots of things are called gangs, but they are not) . Kornhauser (1978) – gang is an interstitial group ( . Relies on Sampson and Groves – diversity in group in an area prevents cohesiveness – family disruption, residential mobility, ethnic heterogeneity, low
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