Reviewing Crime And Deviance Problem Cases Criminology Essay

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This easy will look at the relationship between crime and deviance. Crime can be defined as the behaviour that breaks the law whereas deviance can be defined as the social behaviour that goes against the social norms, therefore deviance act varies from a culture to another and each society defines what is deviant and what is not. In most cases the deviant behaviour is legal but in some cases the deviant behaviour could result into criminal activity. Deviance can range from something like a minor road traffic violation to something major, such as murder.

Those with the deviant behaviour form their own norms and values which could distinct them from the social norms. This could also result into some cases in which deviant behaviour could be odd, or in some cases could be bad behaviour for example, in Muslim countries most of the women wear scarf, while not wearing scarf could be considered as an act of deviant and the behaviour would be seen as an odd in these societies, whereas as in western countries wearing scarf or not wearing scarf does not led to a deviant act. Therefore the deviant behaviour culturally differs from a culture to another, an act like wearing hood in the public in UK could be an act of deviant behaviour, whereas in some Asian countries would be a normal behaviour.

Comparing crime to deviance, crime act is clear and it's an odd behaviour where the behaviour is decided by a legal system. The legal system consists of professional judges where the individual behaviour is decided if the act is legal or not. And the decision about what is legal and what is illegal are made by professional people in authority. However deviance is a social process rather than a decision making process by professional people in authority, deviance is an act of breaking social norms, and the social norms are changeable over time, this is because communities are moving forward to more modern and prosperous society for all ethnicities. Meanwhile social norms are changing on the same time, this could also mean that yesterday's deviance be today's social norm, for example Nelson Mandela was once imprisoned as terrorist, who was then became the president of South Africa, therefore it's arguable that societies decide what's is deviant act and what's not, like a man who cried publicly in the 1950, would have been considered deviant, today men who cry in response to emotional situations are acting within a society norms, like football players cry when they are defeated or actors cry after winning an award, this means that social norms have changed over time, and none of these men are deviant in today's society. On the other hand breaking of the written rules, are considered crime in a society, the types of crimes which criminals commit are varied. That could be crimes against property or crimes against people; therefore punishment becomes necessary to all those criminals when their acts are disruptive which could interfere into society's normal functioning. "Without punishment the crime rate would reach a point where it become dysfunctional" H Martin, 2005, pg 74.

Some of the earliest sociologists were convinced that criminal behaviour was the result of their genetic abnormality. Among the biological theories the XYY syndrome is playing an important role, males are considered more often to become criminals due to the presence of an extra Y chromosome. Researchers discovered that men with extra Y chromosome were likely to be criminal than the general population. These individuals are also called supermales and are categorised as aggressive, hostile with the deviant behaviour. It was believed that Richard Speck had an extra Y chromosome, who went on rampage and killed eight nurses in Chicago in 1966. It was later discovered that Speck did not have the extra Y chromosome, and the XXY theory became unpopular.

Sheldon argued that three main body types have the potential bent to criminal behaviour, the endomorph, mesomorph and ectomorph. Furthermore Lombroso thought that some physical attributes like high cheek bones, fat lips and large ears were connected to criminal behaviour. But later his ideas were disregarded when others sociologist found in researches that did not support Lombroso theory. In spite all these theories about biological effects of the criminal behaviour, there is no possibility to consider that any person can be born criminal. This is because there are social and psychological factors connected to criminal behaviours.

Criminal behaviour is also the result of the psychological traits of a person. These behaviours push people towards committing crimes and demonstrating their deviant behaviour. Yochelson and Samenow viewed criminals as a sample of being master manipulators, habitual liars and people in control of their own behaviour. Psychological theories describe the disposition to crime is the result of inadequate socialisation. Certain food types have also been associated with psychological disorder of criminal behaviour. Although it is difficult to prove that any food type can generate deviance in a person. In 1983 in San Ysidro, California, James Huberty, entered into a McDonald restaurant and killed 21 people with an automatic weapon. His wife later brought a lawsuit against the hamburger chain because she claimed that the additive inside chicken nuggets cause her husband to go on a rampage.

Labelling theory is how self identity and behaviour of an individual is influenced by how the individual is categorised and described by others in society. It had happened most of the time that society places negative label on minorities or those seen as deviant from norms. The labelling theory was famous in 1960s and 1970s but is less noticeable today. Page's study found that self ex- mental health patients are much less likely to be offered apartments for rent or hired for jobs. It clearly demonstrates that labelling can have a very real effect on the mental health patients. A person would also be labelled as a drug addict and because of that label, they may start acting as a drug addict or maybe they wouldn't act this way but because they are labelled, they do. Deviance is not inherent to an act in labelling theory. But instead focuses on tendency of majorities to negatively label minorities or those seen with deviant behaviour. People label individuals on their family background as well, if a parent is in prison, the child will automatically be labelled as a trouble maker, or a disabled person may be considered helpless by some in society.

Official statistics offer the opportunity to identify crime over time. For example the official statistics for crime shows that it has sharply increased from 1950s to 1990s. And these statistics shows that offenders are often working class, male and of which a high number are blacks. On the other hand, there are many disadvantages to official statistics. Critics doubt the reliability and validity of the official statistics. Sometimes politicians use crimes statistics for their political agenda. Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling at the time was accused of misleading the public in use of crimes statistics. Chris was criticised by the UK statistics authority. Barry Hindess, have argued that the official statistics on crime has serious deficiencies. Therefore there could be misleading and distorted figures in crime statistics. This is because of neglecting of unrecorded crimes and ignorance of white collar crimes. Furthermore there are many reasons why public may not report all crimes to the police. They may not realise they have been victim or because they will feel embarrassment or they may associate themselves in a criminal act. There are also many reasons that police may not take action against all offences which are known to them and sometimes Victims are unwilling to cooperate with authorities. Simon Holdaway argued that police studies demonstrated that the police simply cannot take action against all offences which they identify, and therefore they have to prioritise their activities.

Most of the self report studies involve confidential questionnaires that ask respondents voluntarily whether or not they have committed any of the offences listed. And the data can then be compared with official crime statistics to discover which types of offenders are most likely to be convicted. The self report studies have identified more offenders than the official crime statistics and have revealed different types of offenders. Self report studies have also been used to try to discover whether the rate of offending among ethnic minority groups really is higher than among whites. This has revealed that the official crime statistics exaggerate the offending among the ethnic minorities. However, the studies have been criticised for the unreliable or exaggerated answers by individuals. Or in some cases individuals may be embarrassed to answer. The victim surveys focuses on gathering information on crimes such as assault, burglary, rape and robbery. These surveys are used for the purpose of building crime statistics. Therefore to overcome problems with official crime statistics researchers in many countries have develop victimisation surveys such as in US and UK. The surveys ask people whether they have been victim of crime within a specified period of time. However these surveys have been criticised for methodological problems this is because they rely entirely on the memory of victim. Overall comparing the result of all these different sources official statistics, self report studies and victim studies can provide important insight into nature of the crime and can challenge pre organised crimes.