criminology

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Research And Surveys Of Offending In England Criminology Essay

According to DUnger et al., 1998, the extent of offending for males, from the set age of criminal responsibility to roughly the well matured age of 30, has brought to light how similar the patterns of offending amongst young males regardless of the city they reside in.

According to the Home office section 95 report, suggested that a lot of studies conducted about females in crime were valid observations as most of these studies concluded by stating that 'women commit fewer and less serious crimes, they tend to desist from crime more readily.' It is also believed that Girls tend to reach their peak age of offending a lot earlier than boys do and they also are less involved in massive professionally organised crimes.

Typically, women tend to be involved in offences of dishonesty. 80 per cent of females have criminal careers lasting less than a year which is very signicant when compared with only 55 per cent of males.

The typical peak age for offending for girls is 15 but for boys is 19.

Considering the above information, many stereotype a typical offender as being male, youth within the age of 14-24 wearing a hooded top. This is the case because aparantly those involved in the criminal justice system tend to be male, younger, low in socio-economic position and have lack general everyday skills.

According to Nacro (2003) Youth victimisation, the terms 'youth' and 'crime' have become inextricably linked. This is the case because in due to media and crime statistics, crime is comonly associated with young people.

Putting young male offenders into consideration, there are various factors which might help to predict whether they become the perpetrators of crime.

A common factor which affect youths is the involvement of gangs and street violence.

In 1999/2000, The Youth Justice Board conducted research which was based on the involvedment of young people in street crime. This was as a result of a sharp increase of street crime at the time although, statistics show that at the time, crime had substantially fallen.

During this time period, the peak age in which people were offending was 14-17 and the numbers of young people being arrested as a result of street crime was significantly increasing.

Some criminologists of the twenty first century believe in a lot of different factors which they believe can lead someone into commiting crimes and therefore the person becoming a perpetrator of crime.

Some of these factors are: Biological, psychological, social and economic.

In the eitheenth century, there was a case of a young boy in France who grew up alone in a forest in southern France called Aveyron (Papalia, Olds & Feldman, 2007). The young boy roamed about in the forest looking for food and was sometimes spotted by nearby villagers. He was always naked, filthy and covered with scars (Yousef, 2001).

January 1800 was when it was decided the boy had to be caught and this was done in a tanner's garden in the French village of Saint-Sernin as the boy was burrowing for vegetables.

It was explained that the boy was four and a half feet tall but it was believed that he appeared of roughly around the age of 12 or 13 (Lane 1976). The boy was given the name Victor and was carefully examined.

Externally, Victor seemed like any other typical young boy but he could not speak and could only make "wierd, meaningless cries" and he refused to wear any clothes. The boy refused to respond to other people around him by not paying attention to the people around him and simply ignoring anything anyone was doing. The physicians suggested the belief that Victor had been abandoned from a very young age and without any interaction with other humans he had learned to look after himself in his own way. After these examinations Vitor was sent to Paris. The two physicians who Victor was sent to had different views of why Victor behaved in the way he did. One believed that it was due to nature (which is Victors inborn traits) which caused Victors behavioural patterns but the other (Jean-Marc Gaspard Itard) believed it was merely down to nurture. Itard believed that Victor could be trained and taught how to fit into the modern society of the time.

This wasn't the case as in the space of 5years, Victor never learned to properly communicate and still didn't care much about interpersonal interactions as his main focus was on his own personal desires. This suggests that Victor couldn't really survived on his own in the so called 'civilised' world as he had done in the wild.

The main points which are supposed to be derived from Victors are why do we behave the way we do? and how much of our behaviours are merely a result of our genetics?

There are also some personal factors which can be considered as they can help to predict whether people become the perpetrators of crime. Some of these are: Economic opportunity, learning and experience and knowledge of criminal techniques.

As for economic opportunity, an individual reaches a point where they believe they will profit from commiting a crime even if that crime leads to violating the law. It is believed that people are more motivated to commit certain crimes when they know of or have seen someone who commits crimes succesfully and have made "big scores" as a result (Siegel 2003).

Through the notion of learning and experience, criminals learn to be cautious when they know the odds are against them and exactly when to take a chance. As a result, the experience they have as criminals shapes their decision making. This also ties in with knowledge of criminal techniques. This is when the offender has acquired the necesary methods and techniques to avoid detection this shows high levels of thinking, practice and planning (Siegel 2003). For example an article by Heath Copes and Michael Cherbonnaeu based on the keys to autho theft: emerging metohds of auto theft from the offenders' perspective, offenders were interviewed and gave account to the various techniques they themselves used to steal cars and other motor vehicles.

Still with the information above in mind, in 1990, David Rowe, D. Wayne Osgood and W. Alan Nicewander brought about the whole conept of 'The Latent Trait theory' in a very critical article as they tried to hihglight various Latent Traits in some individuals over their life cycles.

This model leads people to the assumption that some people naturally have inbuilt personal attributes or characteristics which makes some indivduals more likely to commit crimes. These 'Latent traits' are believed to be present from birth or are developed during the early stages of life and is stable over the course of time. They explained that some of the symptoms of latent traits are: defective intelligence, impulsive personallity, genetic abnormalities, the physical-chemical functioning of the brain and the environmental influences on brain functions such as drugs, chemicals and injuries. This model sugested that, Latent traits equally affect people equally in terms of their choices regardless of 'gender or personal characteristics'.

According to this model, during the stages of adolescence, people who are anti-social during this stage are more likely to indulge themselves in a life crime. Therefore the prediction that someone could become a perpetrator of crime can be made.

A lot of Criminologists see the disadvantaged economic class position as a primary cause of crime.

Members of this class are believed to be constantly bombarded by the media with a lon string of advertisements which promote the thought of possesion leading to higher self-worth. As the people of this class have difficulty obtaining such goods through acceptable (legal) means, it is hard for them to keep up with members of the upper classes as the upper classes have the resources at hand. Due to this, some of these people turn to certain illegal solutions like dealling drugs for profit, steal cars and selling the cars to "chop shops" or even commiting armed roberry for extra funds (Siegel 2003).

It is believed that people 'grow out of crime' as they mature personally and develop as there becomes an evermore fewer opportuinities for them to commit crimes. As over time, people marry, have children, have jobs and as a result they have little or no time on their hands to indulge in law breaking behaviour.

So all in all, what the Latent trait theory tries to suggest is that there is a biological effect in the aging process in terms of criminal behaviour and this is because as people mature they tend lose the motivation and drive to commit crimes due to their 'adult' responsibilities. So in this case even if the opportunity to commit a crime arises, the person at hand is likely to lack the energy and motivation to sease th oppotunity and commit the crime, thus criminal behaviour lowers with age.

In relation, the general theory of crime helps the prediction of whether people become the perpetrators of crime through the suggestion that people with low self-control are often crime prone regardless of the type of family they are brought up in.

With this in mind, it is arguable that the with a lot of the factors which are believed to be manufacturers as to say of crime and delinquency during a certain stage in an individual's life cycle isn't always relevant to another; as people grow and become more mature certain social, physical and environment influences have different effects on their behaviour (Siegel 2003).

Gerald Paterson and his colleagues in their studies based on deliquency prevention at the Oregon Social Learning centre established that in early childhood, it is important for parents to keep discipline in the household as poor parental skills,monitoring and discipline was key to the coming about of criminal behaviour. In other words, children who only experience maladaptive parenting are more likely to be inefective in certain areas of life and may engage in certain behaviours which only results to peer rejection and academic failure which later on in life leads to more problems as these types of people turn to freinds who are deviant in behaviour as they now have something in common and become alike and thus learning different kinds of anti-social behaviour.

Gerald Patterson and his colleagues brought about the idea that if the bond between parents and children are not strong and there are a lot of conflicts in the family, then doors which lead a lo of social conflict later in life will be opened. Inasmuch, as a young person tries to find their so called 'identity', if they find it by mixing with the wrong croud such as deviant friendship group then a common training ground for crime is litterally established as a result. Thus, it is possible to predict whether people or someone become the perpetrator of crime.

It is possible to predict people to becoming perpetrators of crime through certain theories like the life course theories which suggests that early in life, certain seeds of criminal career are developed in individuals and that early acts of deviance help to predict later and more serious cases possible criminal activities.

Research supports this by adding that, children who predicatabilly will become perpetrators of crime begin their deviant careers from a very early age and this around the preschool stage of a persons life and that the earlier this process of criminality begins the more frequent it becomes in their criminal career. Rolf Loeber and David Farrington made a review of this issue and found that the youngest criminals mostly have a history of deviant and aggresive behaviour from early childhood with things like truancy, cruelty to animals, lying and theft. As most of these are young they tend to only be involved in commiting less serious crimes. Since 1980, 600murders were commited by young people of the age of 12 or even younger and 12-14% of juveniles who have been arrested for rape are in the age category of 7-12 years old.

Budd, T. and Sharp, C. (2005) Offending in England and Wales: first results from the 2003 Crime and Justice Survey, London: Home Office

Roe, S. and Ashe, J. (2008) Young people and crime: findings from the 2006 Offending, Crime and Justice Survey, London: Home Office Statistical Bulletin 09/08.

Soothill, K., Francis, B., & Fligelstone, R. (2002). Patterns of offending behaviour: A new approach (RDS On-line Report 05/02). London: Home Office.

Papalia, E. D., Olds, W. S.,Feldman R. D. (2007) Human Development. 10th edn. New York. The Mcgrraw-Hill companies

Nacro (2003) Youth victimisation: a literature review. Community safety practice briefing, February 2003


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