The definition of the various crimes

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Violent crimes are offenses that involve force or a threat of force. According to the Uniformed Crime Report violent crimes are murder and non negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Murder and non negligent manslaughter is defined as the willful (non negligent) killing of one human being by another(UCR,2010).

"Forcible Rape, by UCR definition, it the carnal knowledge of a person forcibly or against that person's will, or when a victim is mentally or physically incapable of giving consent. Attempts to commit rape are included in this category" (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, 2011).

According to the National Atlas of the United States, The Uniform Crime Reporting Program defines robbery as the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by fore or threat of force or violence and or by putting the victim in fear (National Atlas, 2011).

According to the National Atlas of the United States, The Uniform Crime Reporting Program defines aggravated assault is an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault usually involves the use of a weapon that is likely to cause great bodily harm or even death. Also included in this is the attempted aggravated assaults that displayed weapons or the threat to use a weapon because if the assault were to happen serious injury would be likely to happen (National Atlas, 2011).

Definition of Drugs

Drugs that are commonly involved when violent crimes are committed are Marijuana, Cocaine, and Heroin. Offenders are committing these crimes while high on these drugs or to commit crimes to gain monetary means for the drugs.

A common definition for the word drug is any substance that in small amounts produces significant changes in the body or mind. Marijuana is a common recreational drug that comes from the marijuana plant. The plant is the Hemp Plant Cannabis sativa. The active ingredient is Tetra-Hydro-Cannabinol. Physical and psychological effects of marijuana are euphoria, anxiety, clumsiness, forget fullness, hunger, pain relief, dry mouth, panic attacks, bold shot eyes, paranoia, relaxation, tiredness, poor coordination, and uncontrollable laughter (Ferreiro, C. 2003).

Cocaine is the drug content extracted from the coca leaf. Cocaine can also be refined and processed into a white powder or rock. These can be snorted, injected, or smoked. The physical effects of cocaine on a person are mental alertness, decreased appetite, and increased heart rate and body temperature. The psychological effects on a person are feelings of well being and a huge sense of power and ability. Excessive doses can lead to seizures and death from respiratory failure, stroke, cerebral hemorrhage or heart failure (LeVert, S. 2006).

Heroin is a semi synthetic drug derived from morphine. One effect of heroin is a surge of pleasurable emotions that lasts for about one minute. The body then feels a warm flushing of the skin, contraction of the pupil, dry mouth, heavy feeling in the arms and legs, and sleepiness. Physical pain, anxiety, and stress are also reduced. Ways to intake heroin are with needles, snorting it, and smoking it (Ferreiro, C. 2003).

Environment offenders are raised in

The environment and the circumstances in which the individual was raised in must also be considered because drugs may have played a significant part in how he/she was raised. The social learning theory plays a role in here because some people believe you are a product of your own environment. According to the social learning theory, an individual learns from observation and modeling the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others (University of South Alabama,2011). In cases where drugs may not be directly involved or connected you have to look even deeper in to the background of the individuals who commit those crimes. In some instances drugs may have had no direct connection what so ever. In urban areas such as Chicago and Houston a large amount of middle class citizens turn to drugs for an outlet. It is a financial outlet for some and an emotional and mental outlet for others. In such an environment the child is usually left to fend for themselves at an early age due to lack of parenting in most cases depending on the drug of choice, the level of severity, and the level of their addiction. The children whose parents are using often have to subdue emotional as well as physical abuse. The children whose parents are selling the drugs often times have lots of materialistic things but lack the parenting and discipline children need. In both scenarios the children have to suffer from the type of parenting or the lack of parenting. It is believed that children are a product of their environment and that children born into adverse family environments are more likely than other children to become a criminal or have more of an effect and influence on children than their own parent. So they are still exposed to it. By the children being exposed to these drug infested communities they often witness drug transactions being done by gangs that are financed by those drugs and elder or friends being brutally beaten about those drugs. Gang wars are fueled by drugs for territory. The children witness this behavior everyday and hardly anyone stopping it and saying it's not ok. To a child when wrong is being accepted and endorsed by the majority around them it becomes a norm. So when the minority such as teachers try to steer them in the right direction it's hard to accept that you could be a doctor or lawyer. When you only see drugs and violence being the only visible and productive act around it becomes the norm. So even when children do not fall victim to that life style, the mentality that stemmed from the environment in which they grew up is already deeply rooted in to them. So if that child grows older and leaves that environment and never has direct involvement in drugs then they become a part of corporate America.

Gangs and drugs in Chicago

"Chicago is a gang city. From the immigrant gangs and their racist social athletic clubs to the early African American and Mexican gangs; to Al Capone and the Corruption of the Democratic Machine; to the youth gangs of the forties and fifties; to the "super-gangs" who organized in the sixties on the streets and behind bars and are still here (and there). Chicago's gangs have institutionalized. They are a permanent part to the city, its history and its future (History of Gangs in Chicago, 2011)"

As long as there have been cities, there have been gangs of some sort. In the 1920's Chicago alone had more than 1,300 street gangs catering to every ethnic, political, and criminal being imaginable. Black street gangs in particular flourished in Chicago with membership in the tens of thousands by the 1970's. As a rule gangs would prove much better making mayhem then money. This ended most gang member's careers by the time they were in their 30's. There was no such thing as a 30 year old gangster. He was either working a legitimate job, dead, or in prison. Crack presented an opportunity for long time employment within the gangs.

Gangs have always been a part of Chicago. At first gangs were viewed as a byproduct of social disorganization. Gangs were not about race but instead about space and disorganization of the city. As time went by gangs eventually became about race. There were African American gangs, White European gangs, and Italian and Sicilian gangs. In the 1920's Italians and Sicilians seized control of the bootlegging industry from the Irish. The Irish then ran the legal politics. Al Capone took over Johnny Torrio's spot as the leader of neighborhood gangs which later became known as the Outfit.

By the 1950's most white ethnic gangs had faded away because members found jobs often as police. Gangs began to join into the political and social turmoil of the times. Gangs started forming legitimate social and economic organization. In the late 1960's Mayor Daly and State Attorney Hanrahan declared war on gangs. This sent gang members flooding into prisons and the era of experimentation was dead. Because of all this the gangs had to re organize. Some gangs joined together and gangs also started to run business from prisons. The crack epidemic created unprecedented business opportunities for gangs and then eventually the drugs became the business of gangs. But before crack came about in the 1960's and 70's there was powdered cocaine. It was most popular an beloved by rock stars, movie stars, ball players, and even some politicians. It was the drug of power and panache. But it was also expensive. By the early 1980's the Caribbean and South Americans found that mixing that powdered substance with baking soda and water then cooking off the liquid produce a small rocklike cocaine that you smoke instead of snort through the nose. This later earned the nick name crack for the crackling sound the baking soda made when it was burned (History of Gangs in Chicago, 2011).

Gangs and drugs in Houston

Gangs in Houston are categorized into four major categories. There are criminal street gangs, identity gangs, racist gangs, and satanic gangs. Since 1988 statistics reveal a steady increase in the total number of gangs. In 1988 23 gangs had been reported. Between 1989 and 1991 the number of gangs had increased to 103. Today there are 225 documented gangs in the Houston area with more than 10,000 documented gang members (Houston & Texas News, 2011). Of all these gangs 95 percent were classified as criminal street gangs. Houston has the most gang members than any other city in Texas. Gangs are able to commit a wide variety of criminal acts because of their large numbers. Some of the criminal acts include robbery, murder, drug trafficking, home invasions, kidnapping, extortion and money laundering. Gangs are also moving from inner cities to the suburbs and even to rural areas. Gangs are able to spread because recruitment is at an all time high and the members are younger and more violent.

Now days gangs are more organized and a little more smarter. Gangs are more focused on where the money is so they can be any race and operate in any area. Another recent increase in gang activity and drugs is due to Hurricane Katrina. Since Hurricane Katrina displaced man of he residents of New Orleans they have relocated to Houston. Former New Orleans residents who were drug traffickers from high crime areas now called Houston home. Many of these drug traffickers formed relationships with drug dealers and gangs members. Then after a period of time the New Orleans drug traffickers went back to Louisiana and from the relationships that they formed in Houston with the drug dealer and gangsters they were able to obtain large amounts of illicit drugs directly form their connections in Houston. A large amount of drug related violent crime happens in Houston. Drug abusers and dealers who mostly deal and use crack cocaine and meth engage in many violent and property crimes that involve assaults, robberies, drive by shootings, a home invasions and firearm violations. Drug traffickers of street gangs routinely engage in violent criminal activity to protect and expand their drug distribution territory.

Comparison of Chicago and Houston

The violent crimes being compared are homicide, robbery and aggravated assaults. An example of a homicide would be when someone intentionally kills another person. They could be killed because say they owed money to the person who killed them or maybe they robbed the person who killed them.

An example of an aggravated assault would be when someone physically attacks another person which results in serious bodily harm and also is committed with a deadly or dangerous weapon. A deadly or dangerous weapon would be a gun, knife, sword, or a blunt instrument.

An example of a robbery is when there is both theft and a form of violence or threat of violence used to deprive someone of their property. An example of this could be a drug dealer threatening to shoot his customer if the customer does not pay up their debt or hand over their belongings in order to pay up their debt.

It is important to not confuse robbery with burglary. The difference between the two is burglary is the intent to break into a building with the intent of committing a crime inside without consent.

The two cities being compared are Houston and Chicago. These two cities were chosen because they are comparable in size. Chicago has a population of 2,848,431 and Houston has a population of 2,273,771.

When comparing murder and non negligent manslaughter Chicago had a total of 458 murders compared to Houston's 287 murders. So Chicago had 171 more murders and non negligent manslaughters than Houston.

When comparing robberies Chicago had a total of 15,877 robberies and Houston had a total of 11,367 robberies. Chicago had 4,510 robberies more than Houston.

When comparing aggravated assaults Chicago had 15,727 and Houston had 13,116. Chicago had 2,611 more aggravated assaults than Houston.

When comparing violent crime between Chicago and Houston, Chicago had a total of 34,195 crimes and Houston's total was 24,779.

To see the comparison of aggravated assaults that occurred in 2009 in the state of Illinois and Texas see Appendix 1.

To see the comparison of murders between Illinois and Texas for 2009 see Appendix 2.

To see the comparison of robberies between Illinois and Texas for 2009 see Appendix 3.

Appendix 1

Comparison of Aggravated Assaults between Illinois and Texas

Type of Weapon



Aggravated Assaults






Knives or cutting instruments



Other weapons



Personal Weapons



Appendix 2

Comparison of murders for Illinois and Texas

Type of Weapon


















Knives or cutting instruments



Hands, fists, and feet



Other weapons



Unknown type of firearm