Crime is any action or offence that defies a state or country and is punishable by law. Crime has many definitions. In fact the most common thing about these definitions is that crime is punishable. Crime cuts across many disciplines such as sociology, psychology and criminology. Each of these disciplines try to explain why crime is committed and how people are compelled to commit crime, a good example is sociology. Sociology attributes crime due to poor socialization in society, while psychology attributes crime mainly due to biological and Pathological criminogenic behaviors. Many scholars have tried to define crime and each has given many reasons why crime is committed. Scholars such Cesare Lombroso attribute crime to biological anomalies while scholars like Edwin Sutherland claim that criminal behavior is learned. Generally all these come, to the same conclusions that crime is an offence punishable by law. There are two main types of crime, these include violent crimes and property crime. Violent crime constitutes when someone decides to harm, threaten and conspire against someone else while property crime constitute someone who damages, destroys or steals someone’s property. Both violent and property crimes are offences which involve force and damage to society. There are different types of punishing crime, the most common typologies are retribution, restorative justice, general and specific deterrence, rehabilitation and just deserts. Crime punishment has been there since the beginning of time, theoldesttype of punishment was retribution. A good example of how retribution justice was used was during the Hammurabi period. In those days if crime was committed it constituted an eye for an eye. If I killed someone my punishment would be death. No one was spared. Justice was viewed differently. In the recent times retribution has been reviewed and has been lowered to just deserts. The punishment is still harsh but considers many factors at hand, such as the state of mindof the offender. Crime has been there for a long time and has been defined and been punished in different ways. What constitutes a crime has also been reviewed .what was viewed a crime in the previous times is not a crime now. A good example is freedom of worship. Many people were not allowed to worship any other gods and did it secrecy due to fear of prosecution and being labeled a heretic. In present times one is allowed to worship any god and believe in whoever they please. Generallycrime is a wide topic and has been vigorously studied in different aspects butin this essay I am going to focus mainly on the major objectives of crime prevention, typologies of crime reduction, law enforcement and crime, recidivism of crime and interventions on reduction of crime.
2.0 OBJECTIVES OF CRIME PREVENTIONAND CRIME REDUCTION
Crime prevention includes reducing and deterring crime and criminals from committing crimes. Crime reduction is quite similar to crime prevention, for crime reduction to occur we need to prevent it at first. Crime prevention strategies are usually implemented by criminal justice agencies, individuals, businesses and non-governmental agencies in order to maintain order and enforce the law. Crime prevention strategies not only deter crime but also reduce the risk of increasing victimization in the society.Crime prevention has many objectives but the most main objective is to reduce and deter crime. Many criminal justice agencies have developed strategies through public policy in order to prevent crime. Various models have been adopted by countries in order to combat crime. Kenya for example has enforced the Nyumbakumi initiative (community policing) spear headed by Kaguthi in order to combat crime. By this strategy neighbors are supposed to be readily aw e and watchful of what happens in the neighborhood in order to deter criminals from committing crimes. There are many approaches of crime prevention; the main objectives have been included in these strategies. These strategies are situational crime prevention strategy, environmental crime prevention, social crime prevention, developmental crime prevention, policing strategies, and community crime prevention strategies.
The environmental prevention strategy was first introduced by C. Ray Jeffery a criminologist. Environmental crime prevention strategy main objective is to protect the environment which entails wildlife, Nature and the atmosphere. Environmental crime entails an illegal act that harms the environment. Many international bodies such as Interpol and the UN have recognized environmental crime due to the havoc it has causedthe environment, Types of environmental crime may include dumping hazardous waste in the ocean, illegal wild life trade of endangered species, smuggling, emitting chemicals those ozone layer and illegal logging of trees. There many crimes associated with environmental crime but I am going to focus on the two main which affect many countries which is illegal trade of wildlife and logging of tress.
Many counties have been trying to fight this crime. Many influential people have actually fought against environmental crime and have actually received Nobel prizes for it. The late Wangari Maathai who was an activist for the environment was highly against illegal logging of trees. In fact she proposed that for every tree that was cut down, three should beplanted. Prevention strategies have been implemented in order to combat crime. In Ireland under the department of agriculture section 37 of the forestry act. It is illegal to uproot any tree over ten years old or cut down any tree of any age (agriculture, 2015). Illegal wildlife trade is also a major problem. Kenya has had this problem for years, being one of the countries that harbors endangered species such as the white rhino and elephants. It has faced a lot of problems in trying to combat this problem. Many poachers are killing these animals and selling the tusks of these animals for high prices. Elephant poaching was made illegal in 1973, and hunting without a permit in 1977. Kenya has roughened sentencing through increasing fines.Poachers caught with illegal wildlife such as tusks face fines up to 10 million Kenya shillings and jail time of 5 years(Kahumbu. 2013).Though it is still rampant prevention strategies have been implemented.
Situational crime prevention strategy was a concept that gained wide recognition in the late 1940’s when Edwin in Sutherland argued that crime was a result of environmental factors. Hebelieved that crime was learned. Situational crime prevention strategy is deeply rooted in theories such as routine activity theory, crime pattern theory and rational choice theory. Situational crime prevention strategy focuses on mainly reducing crime by providing settings in which it is less conducive for criminals to attack. Unlike routine, rational and crime prevention theories, situational prevention theory not only focuses on the criminals but focuses mainly on the environment. A good example of how criminal justice agencies have applied this strategy is by ensuring that their heavy surveillance in the cities in order to deter criminals from committing crimes. In Kenya the Government has installed cameras on the traffic lights in order to record criminal activity and find corrupt road traffic users (Okere, 2012). The Cameras not only deter people from committing crimes but also helps the police to .find culprits who may commit a crime and get away with it. A study done in Nairobi by Stephen Okere found out that 85.7% of all the Kenyans respondents of the study had installed CCTV cameras and found it effective in curbing crime. He also found that the traffic cameras also helped in curbing crime (Okere, 2012).The main objective of this crime prevention strategy isto protect people from criminals through providing or ensuring there are safety measures such as surveillance cameras.
Social crime prevention is a strategy that addresses the direct root causes of crime. The main objective of social crime prevention is on the social elements that have lead people to commit this crimes, these elements may include breakdown in familyvalues and ignorance. Lack of cohesion and environmental conditions. Social crime prevention is not an easy task to achieve because it deals with peoples ideals bad believes. The only way to create a society that is peaceful is to start from the beginning. This means ensuring that schooling from young age is given much importance. A good example of how governments have done this is by ensuring that the curriculum in nursery schools teaches children values of what wrong and what is right. There are many ways of how social crime prevention can be achieved, through changing values at home through public education and encouraging the community to be the agent of social change in their own communities.
Developmental crime prevention focuses on how crime occurs; the mainobjective of this strategy is show how crime develops and causes victimization in society. Developmental crime prevention strategy is used by many countries. Public education is one of the approaches that have been used. By using public education many people are taught and developed in to young abiding citizens rather than criminals. Communities may also focus on helping teachers to be an integral part in developing self-control in young people. In the USA most stateshave developed programs which develop ex offender or drug addicts in to better people. They engage in social programs and help them achieve GEDS in order to get a better life. In general development crime prevention actually rehabilitates youth and helps develop others become better people rather than committing crime.
Policing strategies are also crucial in crime prevention. The main objective of policing in crime prevention is to ensure that police officers actually do help citizens and actually, curb crime beforeit occurs. Policing should be proactive. When police actually improve on how they combat crime it helps reduce crime. Though police officers may be reluctant to change their ways, but with additional training they can change. In order to reduce crime policing should be an important aspect. Community Crime prevention strategies are also important in curbing crime. The main objective of this strategy is to ensure that the community and police actually work together in order to prevent crime. By the community being involved in everything it helps reduce crime. Most countries have actually adopted this model. Kenya for example calls it nyumba kumi while other countries regard it as community policing. By the community and the police being involved it helps curb crime because the police are not working alone but are working hand in hand to ensure safety. Community crime prevention strategy can be very effective if the relationship between the citizen and the police is cordial. If it is not, this approach can be very hard to achieve.
By societies using all these models of crime prevention, reduction of crime actually occurs. Crime reduction cannot occur if the government and criminal justice agencies are not doing anything about it. If you look at countries that have high crime, the criminal justice agency and government are weak, and corruption is common. Such countries are run by cartels who engage in organized crime. Organized crime also tends to be present in countries that have strong criminal justice systems, but the difference between the two is that they are not strong as they are in failed states or weak countries. Guinea-Bissau for example which faces a lot corruption has made it easier for organized crime flourish. In April 2007 the authorizes of Guinea-Bissau managed to seize 635 kilograms of cocaine , unfortunately the drug traffickers managed to escape with 2.5 tons of drugs because the police could not catch up with them (Mutume, 2007). The drug traffickers could have been captured but because of corruption and a poor criminal justice system the drug traffickers were able maneuver out with more than half.
Crime prevention and limitations
Crime analysis is understood as the systematic study of crime and disorder problems as well as other police-related issues (Santos). It is important to include sociodemographic, spatial, and mundane factors to assist in criminal apprehension, crime reduction, and crime prevention. It is used primarily as information so that personnel, from patrol officers to police chiefs, have an idea of when and where crime is occurring and how much it has overall occurred. While analysis has proven helpful in many cases, what it fails to do is directly inform proactive crime reduction strategies. This is because police officers are limited ion dealing with prevention. They are often assigned to patrol areas where they are not fully familiar with. They may not fully understand the social structure and norms that fuel the neighborhood and the actions of its residents.
While crime analysis was once focused primarily on tactical issues of identifying offenders, discrimination and stereotyping led to social unrest and led to other tactics of crime prevention. With the stop and frisk campaign in new York, where the police had the right to stop an individual and frisk them for any sort of weapons, drugs or paraphernalia, it became apparent hat innocent young blacks were not being targeted, but were having their rights infringed upon. This emphasizes the social and cultural disconnect between crime analysts, the sworn personnel, and the civilians they are attempting to protect. These became a blurred line between the officers’ role of protecting and harassing innocent civilians. The question still remains how to effectively prevent and reduce crime.
Crime analysis and crime mapping are becoming more common, but they are primarily implemented in larger police agencies. Areas that have statistically needed more protection have been given more policing depending on the capacity of the police in the district. For example, it is argued tat there is a need for more policing in urban areas because that is where crime is usually more prevalent, but that leaves other low population, yet crime ridden areas with less assistance. Despite this all, policing is occasionally being shifted to focus more on ‘hot spots,’ areas where crime is more prevalent. The close monitoring has o an extent been able to deter crime, but that again depends on the stance of the offender and what they have to lose from their potential criminal transaction.
Do they work?
While in an ideal world all crime prevention efforts would work, that is not the case in the society that we live in today. Crime and its prevention vary depending on the environment of where the crime is happening. The demographics, the socioeconomic status of the people, and the relationships within the community all factor into crime and its prevention. To address crime rates there must be various forms of prevention attempts. From the research conducted, it is evident that incarceration is limited in its effectiveness of crime prevention and reduction. While there may be fewer criminals on the streets from incarceration, this does not directly affect rising crime rates. Given that about two thirds of criminals in the U.S. return to prison, incarceration only proves to be a temporary fix. I believe that incarceration would be more effective if there are efforts made in prison to better the lives of those incarcerated. Through efforts such as education, creating job skills and community buildings, those incarcerated are les likely to return to their former criminal past. This has the ability to create crime prevention and reduction in the long run. I also believe that random patrol and reactive arrests used responses to a community’s demand are generally effective, policing in areas where crime is more prevalent makes it easier to identify problems within a community. It develops tailored responses in a timely manner so that crime can be controlled, reduced, and prevented.
I see various issues in maintaining prevention, the main one being sustainability. Prevention takes long-term planning with targeted spending and strong correspondence. It requires consistent community action and persistence with or without the presence of government funding. Without flexibility crime cannot be prevented or reduced. Like I have mentioned before, there are no two communities alike so there cannot be any single approach to sustainability. It is up to the individual communities and organizations to determine appropriate strategies and implement them. I agree with the World Health Organization and the understanding that creating and implementing and monitoring a national action plan for violence prevention would be effective. In order to do so, the issues of funding must be addressed. I believe that the federal and local government should invent in testing method of policing in order to raise awareness and reduce crime. To keep time rates low, there is a need to enhance the capacity of data collection on violence. That way, the issues that need to be addressed are apparent. When looking at issues and crimes within a community, it is important to examine the causes. Consequences and costs for prevention as well as reduction.
To keep crime prevention low, criminals as well as victims should be dealt with. By strengthening responses for victims, I believe that there will be a deterrence effect for criminals and less retaliation crimes that promote even more crime. I also believe that integrating crime prevention into social and educational policies has the ability to reduce crime by promoting social equality.
Sociological Problem The public perception of crime is that it has increased whilst official statistics show that overall, crime has decreased over the years. In this ‘risk society’, a fear of victimisation has become part of our lifestyle and we are constantly reminded of the potential dangers of becoming
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Sociologists are concerned with this topic as the fear of crime is becoming a bigger problem to tackle than crime itself. 1. 2 Research Question Why has the fear of crime increased when statistics indicate a fall in crime? What influences people’s perceptions of crime and to what extent do these perceptions impact on society? The central concern of my research is to discover the reasons behind the growing fear of crime and if there is a causal link between newspaper readership and perceptions of crime.
As (Blackie 2009: 77) suggests, my research question is to understand, explain and evaluate the reasons behind this problem. This is a topic of interest to sociologists as media’s ‘construction of reality’ creates a distorted view of crime, with people more out of touch with the reality of crime than ever. 2. Data Selection The first table I have selected shows the sources most influential on the changes of perception of crime over the past few years (see Appendix 1), and the second table reflects the correlation between newspaper readership and perceptions of crime (see Appendix 2).
I collected these tables from the Home Office’s British Crime Survey on (‘Perceptions of crime, engagement with the police, authorities dealing with anti social behaviour and community payback’ (Chaplin et al, 2011)). This information was gathered by a national face to face victimisation survey of people aged 16 and over from households in England and Wales where people were asked their experiences of crime. 3. Methodology The data I am analysing is quantitative
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It is also a form of secondary data analysis as the data I am looking at are derived from official statistics. When analysing table 3. 02 (see Appendix 2), I discovered a bivariate relationship between the type of newspaper read, and the public’s perception surrounding the amount of crime. There is a causal relationship here; depending on what newspaper you read your perception of crime is likely to differ. As (Bryman, A and Cramer, D 2000) note, it is important to establish the cause prior to the effect. An effect cannot come before a cause. In table 3. 01 (see Appendix 1) there is a dependent variable and an independent variable.
The dependent variable is the public’s perception of crime and the independent variable is the type of source they hear it from. From analysing the variables within the tables I have come up with a hypothesis that media representations of crime can influence people’s view of crime. What I want to discover is if this amplifies people’s fear of crime. Firstly, I will be using formal content analysis to measure the amount of space devoted to crime and the types of crime covered in newspapers. I will then use thematic analysis to look for themes which underlie the content.
My third and final analysis will be textual analysis where I will be closely examining the text used in newspapers to see how it encourages a particular reading and creates an impression. Some of the advantages of using secondary data analysis include firstly it is more structured and standardised which gives us more reliable and repeatable results. It allows us to study larger numbers which gives results that are more representative of a population. As it is a detached and objective method, the researcher merely manipulates the variables and records the results.
Their subjective feelings have no effect on the outcome of the experiment. If subjectivity becomes involved it could interfere with the outcome. In the British Crime Survey they used interviews to find out people’s views. This made the results easy to quantify especially when answers are pre coded. This also makes them suitable for hypothesis testing. However, there are also disadvantages to using quantitative data. As we are analysing from a secondary source, there is a lack of familiarity with the data which may cause confusion with the data presented.
It does not allow the researcher to be personally involved, thus they produce a more superficial understanding. The British Crime Survey 2010/11 gives us an overall view of the statistics involved; however it does not give a deeper understanding and a more valid picture of the other factors that may be relevant. The results of quantitative data are limited as it produces numerical descriptions as opposed to a detailed narrative which gives us a less detailed account of the public’s perception on crime. 4. Analysis The world appears to have become a dangerous place to live, there is a ‘fear of crime’ and a ‘fortress mentality’.
The increased sense of insecurity makes many unable to deal reasonably with the problem of crime. One of the reasons crime has decreased is the privatisation of public space in recent years. CCTV are used to control how people access these public areas. The police have also become confined to certain parts of towns and cities due to ‘tipping’ which allows them to keep a watchful eye on a specific area. Baldwin and Bottoms (1976) looked at the process of ‘tipping’, which is when councils put all antisocial together in the same place.
This leads to concentration of crime in a given area, which can also have the opposite effect of creating more crime. The process of tipping is similar to the broken window theory of Wilson and Kelling (1982). It’s a zero tolerance where there is no acceptance even of the smallest crimes. This will not allow them to grow into bigger problems. The media devotes a great deal of time and coverage to crime and deviance. They are accused of giving a distorted image of crime, criminals and policing. There are studies that indicate that the proportion of news devoted to crime has increased over the past 50 years.
An example is a study that found the proportion of space given to crime reports in the Daily Mirror and the Times from 1945 to 1991 increased from 8% to 21% (Reiner et al. , 2000). The coverage of violent and sexual crimes is significantly greater than their incidence as measured by official statistics, victim studies and self report studies. Homicide accounts for one third of all crime news. William and Dickinson’s (1993) study of 10 national newspapers in 1989 found 64. 5% of crime stories were about violence against a person, whereas the British Crime Survey only showed 6% of crimes reported by victims in 1989 about violence.
The amount of violent and sexual crimes tended to be more frequent the more ‘down market’ the newspaper. Although murder stories attract much of the public eye, it only accounts for 600 or 700 offences a year, with most of these being domestic violence. Table 3. 03 (see appendix 2) shows the difference between tabloid newspapers and broadsheet newspapers and people’s perception of crime. 81% of people who read ‘popular’ newspapers believed crime had increased, in comparison to 59% of people who read ‘broadsheet’ newspapers.
This shows how the type of newspaper affects people’s view of crime and how the media want certain groups to worry about crime more than others. If the working class are living in fear of crime, they are less likely to rise and revolt, as they are too busy fearing the ‘vicious’ streets. Crime news focuses on the actual incident of the crime rather than the causes. However broadsheets such as the Guardian are more likely to contain an analysis of the causes of crime (Carrabine et al. , 2002). Tabloid readers are mostly working class as they tend to prefer the cheaper and less intellectual types of newspapers.
(Simmons and Dodd, 2003) discovered tabloid readers are twice as likely to be ‘very worried’ about burglary, mugging, physical attack and rape. An important fact is that the victims of crime are mostly the poor, working class and ethnic deprived groups. Much crime is done by the working class on the working class. Ironically, the media shows victims being mainly women, white people and high status individuals. This shows how the media are manipulating our view of crime, making us believe the working class are committing the crimes whilst the privileged are suffering from the crimes.
However, there is another view. The British Crime Survey found that people who live in inner-city areas and council estates are particularly concerned about crime, particularly violent crime. These are the areas where most working class people live and the areas where violent crime is more likely to happen. Tabloid newspapers may merely be reflecting their concern with crime rather than shaping it. As Crawford et al. , (1990) says, ‘in inner city areas, mass media coverage of crime tends to reinforce what people already know. ’ From looking at table 3.
01 (see Appendix 1) it shows the major sources that influence people’s perceptions of crime is news programmes on TV/radio, local newspaper and tabloid newspapers. Different sources of information affected the different perceptions of crime. The people who thought crime had increased nationally were most likely to find out about crime through TV programmes or radio (62%), local newspapers (35%) or tabloid newspapers (35%) as their source of information. Both tables are ordinal data as the events are ‘placed in ordered categories along a single dimension’ (Fowler Jr., 2004).
The main sources of crime news derive from the police and courts. However, it is important to note that the way the statistics were collected may affect the data. There is a dark figure of crime that does not get reported and that the police consider not worthy to be recorded. Not all crimes are reported and the police record an even smaller proportion of property crime. The official crime index excludes for offences ranging from drunk driving to white collar violations. Marxists believe capitalism exploits the working class and this gives rise to crime.
Capitalism encourages the middle class to be greedy and self interested. This sometimes leads to corporate and white collar crime however this is not the media’s main focus. Marxists also argue street crime is disproportionally prosecuted, that the poor commit compared to the white collar crime that the middle class commit. Stuart Hall’s (Policing The Crisis (1978)) study applied a fully social theory of deviance to the study of mugging. Hall’s study shows how the media will focus on a particular minority and create a moral panic, often to cover another problem.
The myth of the black mugger served as a scapegoat to distract attention away from the real causes of problem such as unemployment. The black mugger came to symbolise the disintegration of the social order. This is also apparent in today’s society as we are encouraged to fear the ‘hoody’ youth and believe the majority of them carry a knife. Journalists are dependent on official sources for their information. These sources have become primary definers – they define what counts as crime, what counts as justice and what they believe to be significant.
In doing so, they reflect the concerns of the powerful – the agents of social control and the state (Hall et al. , 1978). The British Crime Survey includes questions about perceptions of crime and the concerns. It also asks questions about newspaper readership. Findings from the surveys from 2001 to 2003 show that over the three years, a growing proportion of respondents thought that the national crime rate had risen ‘a lot’ (25% in 2001, 30% in 2001/02 and 38% in 2002/03). In comparison, the British Crime Survey indicated a steady fall in crime over these years.
The 2002/03 survey shows that 43% of those who read a tabloid newspaper believed the crime rate had increased ‘a lot’ compared to 26% of broadsheet readers (Simmons and Dodd, 2003). The news media tend to portray a positive picture of the Criminal Justice System. Things such as the success and justice of the police are often exaggerated. There are some stories of the corruption of the police however this is presented as an individual’s failings, rather than the Criminal Justice System (Chibnall, 1977). The legitimacy of the Criminal Justice System is protected.
This underlies many news reports on crimes. The mean ‘is the average of the distribution of the variable’ (Seale C 2004: 327). The most common expression for the mean of a statistical distribution with a variable is the average of all the terms. In order to discover the mean, you simply add up the values of all the terms and then divide by the number of terms. There are other expressions however these forms are hardly used in statistics. ‘The median is the number positioned in the middle of a distribution, below which half the values fall’ (Seal C 2004: 328) The median for table 3.
01 (see appendix 1) is Broadsheet newspapers at 20% . The mean for table 3. 03 (see appendix 2) for the tabloid newspapers are The Daily Mail and The Daily Star both at 81% saying crime has increased. The median for the broadsheet newspapers are The Times and The Financial Times at 60% and 50%. The mode is defined as ‘being the most frequently occurring value in a distribution’ (Seal C 2004:328). The mode for table 3. 01 (see appendix 1) this is the variable that occurs most often. The variable that occurred most often in both tables was the newspapers and more specifically tabloid newspapers.
In conclusion, the tables and data provided have proved there is an obvious causal relationship between newspaper readership and perceptions of crime. It has effected society as we have almost become reliant on sources of secondary data such as newspapers to feed us with knowledge of crime, which has created a distorted view. We become sucked into the manipulation of the media and believe what we read to be fact, even if we do know at the back of our minds it is an exaggerated version of the truth.
Crime has always been a staple ingredient of human’s fascination and it will always make headlines. The main influence of people’s perception of crime comes from the media. The media has a huge part to play in shaping the way we think and hear about things, therefore they are also able to manipulate our view, but ultimately it is our choice to believe it or not. For Durkheim (1893) ‘Crime is normal and an integral part of all healthy society. ’ It is also important to realise that we do need crime in society as it affirms our cultural values and norms and promotes social unity.
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