Examining The Violence Of Crime And White Collar Criminology Essay

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Violence has been part of crime since time immemorial. Although white-collar and property crimes are the most common in the 21st century, violent crimes are still rife in the society. Criminals can easily access machine guns, explosives and highly sophisticated equipment, thanks to the current technology. Street gangs have gone high-tech and racial profiling also continues to exist. This research paper investigates escalation of violence in crime from 2000 to present day.

Escalation of Violence in Crime from 2000 to Present Day

Crimes of the 21st century differ significantly from those committed in the 20th century. Property crimes are more common than violent crimes. The UCR study conducted in 2006 found out that for every 474 violent crimes committed, there are 3,335 property crimes committed (Miller, 2009, p. 164). White-collar crimes have also become common and the society is taking them serious. These crimes result into bigger losses than street crimes, actually 20 times more (Miller, 2009, p. 160). Gangsters have also started using violent weapons; explosives, machine guns and other deadly weapons such as poisonous injections, characterize crimes of the 21st century. Violence in crime is still affected by racial differences, and attempts to stop racial profiling are still inadequate.

Victimization is one of the features of violent crimes that have increased. Victimization has increased violent crimes such as gang rape, murder and robbery with violence. Workmates, acquaintances, family members and intimate persons victimize their colleagues owing to unresolved disputes. Victimization by friends is the most common according to a study done in 2005 by NCVS which found out 36 percent of all male victims of violence were persecuted by their own allies (Miller, 2009, p. 169). 39 percent of all female victims of violence were also picked on by their friends (Miller, 2009, p. 169). Strangers only victimized 3.6 percent and 1.1 percent of all male and female victims respectively (Miller, 2009, p. 169). The NCVS study also found out a strong correlation between alcohol use by the offender and stranger victimization.

Victimization takes place in various domains, which provide criminals with an assortment of opportunities. The workplace serves as one of the main domains of victimization. Different places of work have different structures, in terms of staff routines, employee roles, staff security, and opportunities. These characteristics increase or decrease the risk of victimization of employees or employers of that particular workplace. The workplace has become an intricate setting. It offers varying opportunities and threats, which criminals can utilize. Miller (2009) argues that staff routines, employee activities and proximity of the workplace to potential criminals greatly affect the risk of victimization (p. 169).

Schools and colleges have recently become domains of violent crimes. Schools are known by criminals as places where vulnerable youngsters congregate, they are therefore potential domains of victimization (Miller, 2009, p. 169). Violent crimes and property crimes usually happen in schools which compromise security and guardianship. Places such as parking lots, dining halls and class sessions where teachers are absent, have the greatest risk of violence. Students in colleges and campuses also face greater risks of property victimization than when they are off-campus (Miller, 2009, p. 169). Consistent with routine activities theory, a study done on colleges revealed that women are at a greater risk of being victims of violent sex crimes when they are in campus than when they are off-campus (Miller, 2009, p. 169).

Weapons of the 21st century have interpersonal designs that make it easier for military personnel to kill terrorists, outlaws and hardcore criminals. Firearms are the most common weapons in terms of the numbers produced; their production is calculated in tens of millions (Abramyan, 2005, p. 185). Guns differ in terms of their caliber and shooting mechanisms. Some guns have optical sights while others have infrared targeting systems. Tracer bullets, which can enable the user to see the trajectory, have also become popular (Abramyan, 2005, p. 185). Smart bullets, which emit smoke upon impact, guide the user on where to fire (Abramyan, 2005, p. 185). The greatest setback is that criminals have access to these high-tech firearms. Unregulated issuing of firearms to the public has provided criminals with opportunities to handle different kinds of firearms. Gun possession has violence-increasing and violence-decreasing effects for criminals and their victims respectively (Miller, 2009, p. 92).

Although weapons such as knives and spears can cause death to their victims, guns have proved more dangerous. Gun crimes in the United States of America, a country with a tradition of gun ownership, have considerably increased since the year 2000 (Howell, 2007, p. 39). The United States has a gun policy that allows citizens to own firearms (Howell, 2007, p. 39). This policy has greatly favored organized crimes and criminal gangs (Howell, 2007, p. 40). People, who own guns, put themselves and their families in danger. Moreover, gun possession increases the probability that a gun-related death will occur in one’s homestead. Citizen with guns are also more likely to use firearms while resolving minor issues (Howell, 2007, p. 40).

Criminals of the 21st century have developed sophisticated tactics of carrying out violent attacks against the person. In previous generations, terrorists used crude weapons to carry out attacks; victims had their throats cut with knives and daggers. Simple explosives became popular in later years of the 19th century and were extensively used by terrorists in the 20th century (Robertson, 2007, p. 19). Terrorists can now plant bombs and blow them up from a safe distance. Suicide bombers can also strap explosives to their body and detonate them when they reach their targets. Criminals and terrorists of the 21st century can also attack their victims using explosive-laden vehicles and airplanes (Robertson, 2007, p. 19).

In the 21st century, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) have also undergone immeasurable technological transformations. Terrorist victims live in fear knowing their attackers are likely to use weapons of mass destruction (Robertson, 2007, p. 23). Although very few criminals have the skills or expertise to use WMD, terrorists can easily access radiological, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. No terrorist group has managed to acquire or use nuclear weapons but fears are mounting that certain states support terrorism (Robertson, 2007, p.23). Biological weapons which spread disease causing agents are highly dangerous and could cause numerous deaths to terrorist victims. The United States has experienced biological attacks such as the 9/11 attacks and anthrax attacks deployed using mailed envelopes (Robertson, 2007, p.23).

Hijacking is also another recent strategy that is common among violent offenders. Airplane flights render large crowds of people vulnerable; these are crucial opportunities for organized criminals and terrorists. Terrorists hijack airplanes to televise their demands to the world. Criminals also hijack airplanes and use them to smuggle contraband and illegal weaponry. Although they hardly kill hijacked victims if their demands are met, sometimes they cause mass murders in such attacks. In the 11th September 2001 terrorist attack on America, 4 airplanes were hijacked and used to bring down the world trade center (Robertson, 2007, p. 19). Hijacking became a short-term technique, since security gaps were closed by security agencies and major airlines.

Since hijacking large crowds proved a difficult task, violent criminals have since resorted into kidnapping by holding their victims hostage. Kidnappers are very selective on their victims and carry out violent attacks to snatch them off (Robertson, 2007, p. 20). Kidnapping has also become a popular tactic in Latin America, with Columbia recording the highest number of abductions. In 2000 and 2003, Columbia recorded 3,706 and 2,200 cases of kidnapping respectively (Robertson, 2007, p. 21). Unfortunately, kidnapping is a safe approach for kidnappers and lethal for the victims, especially during rescue attempts. Robertson (2007) argues that 79 percent of kidnap victims end up dead during rescue attempts since rescues hinder kidnappers from earning ransom money (p. 21).

Street gangs are fundamental in escalation of violent crimes. Although street gangs have been existent since the 19th century, they have lately gone high-tech in terms of their weapons and activities (Preston, 2008, p. 262). Gangs represent racial, ethnic or social values of their members (Preston, 2008, p. 263). Police and federal governments have been vigilant on this issue; they have designed a multitude of strategies to eliminate street gangs. In the United States, prevention, suppression and legislation programs against street gangs are already in operation (Preston, 2008, p. 262). These programs prevent escalation of street gangs by encouraging good values among the youth. These programs rehabilitate gang members and suppress gang activities by holding members legally responsible.

Most street gangs are short-lived, since new ones tend to phase-out pre-existing ones (Preston, 2008, p. 262). New gangs target criminal enterprises of their predecessors, and use violence to acquire empires of other street gangs. The Five Points area of New York City is a criminal domain which has been ruled by several street gangs. Irish street gangs of that area were phased-out by Jewish street gangs, which were then eliminated by Italian street gangs (Preston, 2008, p. 262). With the latest weapon technology in the 21st century, street gangs can only exist concurrently (Preston, 2008, p. 262).

Most gangs have notably changed their criminal activities. Crips and Bloods, which are gangs that originated in Los Angeles, financed their criminal dealings during the 1980s with money earned from car hijacks and violent robbery (Preston, 2008, p. 264). In the 1990s, they started dealing in drugs, which were highly lucrative at that time (Preston, 2008, p. 264). Crips and Bloods gangs also began engaging in organized crimes, such as robbing banks and jewelry stores, towards the end of the 20th century (Preston, 2008, p. 264). They also came up with a strategy called the one minute robbery, which trained their members how to steal everything in a jewelry store within one minute (Preston, 2008, p. 264). This strategy also minimized the probability of the police arresting gang members involved in robbery. By the end of the 20th century, Crips and Blood had expanded its domain to 39 states and 69 cities (Preston, 2008, p. 264). Since the beginning of the 21st century, gang leaders have been reinvesting illegally earned proceeds into legitimate investments (Preston, 2008, p. 264).

Racial tension is another critical factor in escalation of violent crimes. Although racial profiling has reduced over years, skin color still determines how people are handled by the law (Jacobs, 2006, p. 95). Jacobs (2006) argues that a considerable number of victims of death in custody, rough treatment by the police, and extrajudicial killings are ethnic minorities (p. 95). Racial profiling and ethnic injustices cause dangerous ethnic tensions, especially between different races such as Native Americans and African Americans (Jacobs, 2006, p. 95). Ethnic minorities who are subjected to racial profiling are more likely to break the law to revenge injustices done against them (Jacobs, 2006, p. 104).

Mooney, Knox and Schacht (2008) agree that race determines who gets arrested and convicted (p. 142). African Americans are only 14 percent of the total population but they are responsible for 38 percent of all violent crimes and over 28 percent of all property crimes (Mooney, Knox, & Schacht, 2008, p. 142). Proponents of racial profiling argue that race and violent crimes are related, but opponents assert that it is a form of discrimination that should be illegalized. Mooney, Knox and Schacht (2008) argue that race and social class are interrelated in that low-income blacks are overrepresented (p. 142). Poor people lack rightful means of acquiring material goods; violence is the only way to acquire such commodities (Mooney, Knox, & Schacht, 2008, p. 142). Moreover, respect among low-income earners is based on physical strength and violence, and not economic achievement, societal roles and educational status (Mooney, Knox, & Schacht, 2008, p. 143).

The actions of the police are considerably important in escalation of violent crimes. Edwards (2005) affirms that some researchers believe mistreatment by the police has escalated violent crimes in the 21st century (p. 55). Edwards (2005) contradicts this viewpoint by claiming that it is not the contractual obligation of law enforcers to relieve potential criminals of the social pressures that motivate them to commit crimes (p. 52). Edwards (2005) argues that prevention of social pressures such as low-quality education and drug addiction is not within the mandate of law enforcers (p. 55).

Villiers (2009) argues that the police are the best individuals to effectively deal with crime (p. 111). Although in the 20th century there were less prevention strategies, modern police officers understand the importance of dealing with problems by working on their causes and not the effects (Villiers, 2009, p. 112). Community policing has become a common practice that helps the police deal with crime by involving the public. Rushefsky (2007) agrees that areas where more police are deployed record the lowest number of crimes (p. 262). Deploying a large number of police in the streets increases the chances of arresting criminals and convicting guilty offenders (Rushefsky, 2007, p. 262).

Although most criminals have resorted to white-collar and property crimes, violent crimes still account for a large proportion of crimes committed today. Crude weapons have now been substituted with high-tech guns, explosives and weapons of mass destruction. Criminals and terrorists are more organized in their violent attacks. Street gangs have also acquired weapons and strategies that enable them to survive over long periods of time. Race does not directly increase violent crimes, but does so due to demands of social class. Although mistreatment by the police is a common occurrence, the police have continued to play an important role in prevention of violent crimes.

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