CRIME AND DEVIANCE 7
Crime and deviance
Crime and deviance in relation to criminology involves the making,enforcing and the breakage of various criminal laws as well as socialnorms. Crime and deviance are two different aspects but deviance maya sometimes lead to crime. This happens when it involves the breakageof a criminal law. Sociologists have viewed deviance as behaviorsthat go contrary to the set societal norms and expectations (Reid,2014). It is vital to note that deviance varies from one society orcommunity to the other. This is because different societies orcommunities will have varying social norms that people are expectedto abide by. For instance, dreadlocks in Jamaica are not consideredas a deviant behavior, but they may be considered a deviant behaviorin other countries and may be even associated with crime.
There are deviant behaviors that are termed as crime and they breakthe criminal laws in many countries. For instance, rape, murder,theft and robbery are deviant behaviors that constitute criminalactivities. Deviant behaviors are divided into formal and informalbehaviors. The formal deviant behaviors constitute criminalactivities such as the ones stated above. Informal deviant behaviorsresult in the breakage of a norm in a certain society or community.For instance, spitting, belching loudly or picking one’s nose inpublic (Reid, 2014). These are norms that have not been formallycodified into law but are considered s unacceptable behaviors invarious societies. Whereas deviance has been viewed as a negativeaspect, research has indicated that it has some benefits in that itbrings about social change.
Crime and deviance pose numerous challenges to criminology. A numberof the behaviors that are termed as deviant are also criminal innature. Within the conventions of criminology, these behaviorspresent a huge problem and a challenge of finding out the causes,nature, control and the prevention of the consequences, as well asthe deviant behavior by people. It is clearly evident that deviantbehaviors that are both formal and informal are a bother to bothindividuals and society. Sociologists have had numerous challenges infinding out the various causes of deviant behavior, as well ascriminal activities. As it has been mentioned above, deviantbehaviors vary from society to society (Reid, 2014). It is alsoevident that it not all deviant behaviors that are criminal.
Crime and deviance are problems that have been in existence sincetime immemorial. There are various historical issues that have beenassociated with crime and deviant behavior. Research has clearlyindicated that inequality, which is largely as a result ofcapitalism, has contributed immensely to the rise of deviance andcrime in the United States and across the world. The American dreamhas been a pipe dream for many people in the United States. A fewpeople have made it and become extremely successful (Williams, 2012).The remaining people who fail to make it to success through thenormally acceptable means resort to deviant behaviors such as robberyand theft to try and meet their dreams. Capitalism, as stated above,has also been an extremely thorny issue with regard to equality. Thishas resulted in numerous poor people from minority groups resortingto crime and deviant behaviors in order to achieve their goals.
Additionally, slavery as a historical issue contributed immensely tothe rise of deviance and crime. The minority groups such as the blackAmericans who were used as slaves embarked on revenge missionsthrough criminal activities and deviant behaviors. Robbery, theft andcarjacking are all deviant behaviors, as well as criminal activitiesthat are mainly associated with minority groups especially blacks(Winfree & Abadinsky, 2010). The superior races were able toexploit cheap and free labor to enrich themselves in yester years.After the end of slavery, the former slaves adopted informal ways ofenriching themselves such as crime and deviant behaviors.
Research has indicated that there has been an enormous social changeover the years as a result of the invention of technology and theinternet. Some of the deviant behaviors in some countries haveexpanded to other parts of the world due to the fast communicationavenues available such as the internet. The social norms have changedover time and behaviors that were only witnessed in the westerncountries have found their way into African and other less developedcountries. Globalization, cultural diversity and technology have beenassociated with the spread of deviant behaviors and criminalactivities to various parts of the world. It is evident that whatwould be considered as “cool” in one country such as America orJamaica, might be viewed as deviant or even criminal in anothercountry (White et al., 2009). For instance, bang smoking is legal andnormal in Jamaica, but it is a criminal offence in many othercountries.
Crime and criminology stakeholders have largely contributed tothe problems and challenges facing the institution. The criminaljustice system has failed to enforce the various laws that shoulddeal with criminals. It is evident that criminals have enhanced theirtactics and are now engaging in sophisticated crimes such as cybercrime. The law enforcement agencies are yet to match up to thestandards of the criminals hence allowing them to roam freely. Theprisons and the correctional facilities do not fully rehabilitate thecriminal (Arrigo & Williams, 2012). This is clearly indicated bythe high rates of crimes that are conducted by second time orsubsequent offenders. The policy makers have also failed to provideclear and absolute laws of dealing with deviance ad crime. In theUnited States for instance, there are only a few states that disallowcertain deviant behaviors such as spitting in public or unnecessaryexposure of nudity in public. Parent and guardians have also failedto educate their children on the various deviant behaviors andcriminal activities to desist from. Research has indicated that themajority of criminals and deviants are young people who lack thenecessary morals.
Crime in the USA increased sharply between the 1960s to the 1990s.Research has indicated that he crime rates almost quadrupled duringthis period. However, the rates reduced significantly after the 1990sdue to the increased number of police officers and the increasedbudget on security. There were also numerous crime prevention andcorrectional programs that were initiated at the time. However, thecrime rates have increased in the recent past. The Federal Bureau ofinvestigations (FBI) releases statistics of criminal activities invarious regions and states in the US (Reid, 2014). It divides thecountry into region namely Northeast, Midwest, South, and West. Thesouth was marked out as the region with the highest levels of violentcrime in 2011 with approximately 428.8 people per 100,000. Northeastwas singled out as having the highest property crime at 2121.8 per100,000 people. In terms of states, Tennessee State has the highestcrime rates at 608 per 100,000 people (Reid, 2014). This data relatesto the problems of crime and criminology. The metropolitan areas seemto have high crime rates. The cross cultural diversity and inequalityin these regions contribute immensely to the problems of dealing withcrime.
The problems and challenges facing crime and criminology emanatesfrom the failure by the various stakeholders to take their dutieseffectively. The criminal justice system has the major role ofdealing with crime. There must be programs that are effective incorrecting and rehabilitating criminals and deviants. The lawenforcers must adopt the latest technologies in dealing with cybercrimes (Agnew, 2011). The parents and the guardians have aresponsibility of ensuring that they guide their children on thevarious behaviors that do not contravene the law. Additionally, thepolicy makers must come up with laws that will deal with the lawbreakers and deviants effectively to avoid second time and subsequentoffenders
Reid, S. T. (2014). Crime and criminology. New York:Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
Arrigo, B. A., & Williams, C. R. (2012). Philosophy,crime, and criminology. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
White, R. D., Haines, F., & Eisler, L. D. (2009). Crime &criminology: An introduction. Don Mills, Ont: Oxford UniversityPress.
Winfree, L. T., & Abadinsky, H. (2010). Understandingcrime: Essentials of criminological theory.Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Williams, K. (2012). Textbook on criminology. Oxford:Oxford University Press.
Agnew, R. (2011). Toward a unified criminology: Integratingassumptions about crime, people and society. NewYork: New York University Press.