Thesis: Criminological Theory

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Criminological Theory

The relationship between unemployment and crime is complex and can be discussed at length. Let us instead explore how unemployment might cause or inhibit a criminal behavior; how crime might lead to unemployment; and what third variables might affect both unemployment and crime, thus making their apparent relationship spurious. What theory or theories can help explain this relationship?

On one hand, the link between unemployment and crime may seem obvious -- people who are unemployed are more desperate for money. They lack legitimate means to make a living, thus they seek a life of crime. According to classical criminological theory, the benefits of being a criminal outweigh the benefits of being law-abiding. Additionally, being 'let go' from a job can increase an individual's sense of anger and resentment at society -- consummate with anomie theory, the gap between the promised American dream and their lifestyle drives them to crime. They may feel as if they have a right to engage in criminal activity, since their legitimate contribution to society was not acknowledged. Also, individuals who are poor with less vocational skills tend to be the first individuals let go during an economic downturn, and poorer areas are thus more apt to have many individuals who are unemployed in the same area, creating a culture of acceptance of crime and a situation of social disorganization.

The statistics on crime are more complex: anecdotally, of course, there are always examples of individuals who go on violent crime sprees, like the man who lost his job in Binghamton, New York, and turned his rage upon a community center designed to help immigrants. "By and large, the studies show that lousy job markets -- particularly for young or unskilled men -- are linked to more thefts. But the connection isn't so plain with violent crimes like murder and rape. That bolsters the theory of a more rational criminal: When the economy flags, people inclined to crime opt for dishonest income; they don't start shooting people" (Forelle 2009). "Binghamton, a city of 45,000, has been hollowed out by factory closings and buffeted by a flight to the suburbs. There was just one murder in 2008…tough economic times had brought with them a big jump in larcenies. When gas prices soared last year, more people drove off from the pump without paying" (Forelle 2009). Burglary and theft is linked to unemployment, and some violent crimes, like drug crimes, as more people may resort to dealing drugs during an economic downturn, but the correlation between violent crime and unemployment in general is much weaker. In fact, in the case of Binghamton, because so many people left the city during the economic crisis, overall violent crime rates had gone down, despite the one, highly publicized shooting. Many criminals fled to the city, and along the lines of social differentiation theory, the culture of the city changed, making it less accepting of crime.

Some crime rates, it could be added, may actually go down during an economic crisis. For example, white collar crimes such as pilfering from an employer might go down, because people are anxious to keep their jobs. High-level white collar crimes like insider trading are also likely to go down, as there is less profit to be made from such crimes. Crime itself can create unemployment, too, as high crime rates can cause businesses to leave the area, depriving the public of jobs. Finally, other aspects of crime may be unrelated to crime and unemployment but may still be correlated -- racial or ethnic discrimination may result individuals being shunned from good jobs (as in the case of Irish and Italian immigrants and African-Americans) resulting in high unemployment and possible cultures of criminality in socially segregated neighborhoods -- people may prefer to become members of the Mafia than to seek legitimate jobs, and thus be technically unemployed.

Question 2: Serial killer Ted Bundy attributed his crimes to influence of pornography. Does pornography causes or contribute to crime. Do you think that slasher films, which are not usually considered pornography, increase crime and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Criminological Theory.  (2009, April 23).  Retrieved May 20, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/criminological-theory/673395

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/criminological-theory/673395.