Crime and Violence Crime and Violence across human societies – Which societies have the most crime? Who is most likely to commit crime? – The Young Male Syndrome – What keeps young men on the straight and narrow? Contemporary patterns of crime in the U.S. – Why has crime decreased recently? – How does the U.S. compare to other countries? Why do people commit crime? – Where you live: Social disorganization – Who you hang out with: Differential association – What do you have to lose? Crime and Violence across human societies Which societies have the most crime? With regard to premodern societies it is difficult to know how much crime and violence occurred because there are no good records. Studies of contemporary horticultural and hunting and gathering societies show high levels of violence compared to the contemporary U.S. E.g.!Kung hunter gathers (1963–1969) had homicide rate of 0.29 persons per 1000 per year—approximately four times the contemporary U.S. rate. Seems to be a general trend In the contemporary world, less developed societies have higher homicide rates than more developed societies. United States stands out from other developed countries as having a comparatively high rate of homicide. The U.S. homicide rate average 7.51 per 100,000 residents, the highest in the developed world. Why is this so? More individualistic ethos and fewer social welfare benefits in the United States may promote individualized means of attaining status and resources, including criminal means. Who is most likely to commit crime? In all societies, the vast majority of homicides and other violent crimes are committed by men. In most of societies, more than 90% of the same-sex homicides are committed by males. In the United States, most victims and perpetrators in homicides are male Percentage Distribution of Single-Offender Victimizations, by Type of Crime and Perceived Gender of Offender 2006 Women are more likely than men to be killed by an intimate or family member Men are more likely to be killed by an acquaintance or stranger In particular, it is young men aged 18– 24 years who are most likely to perpetrate crimes. This is often referred to as the young male syndrome. At age 20 years, men are approx. six times more likely than females to be the victims of homicide. Men are much more likely than women to have spent time in prison Men in age groups 25–34 and 35–44 years have the highest probability of having spent time in state or federal prison. Why are young men disproportionately involved in crime? In ancestral environment, this was the time when a young man seeking a wife had to display formidable physical prowess in hunting, tribal raids, tribal defense, and defense of his interests. Men who did not show prowess in these areas were unlikely to obtain a wife. In a modern environment, men no longer have to show prowess at hunting and warfare, but they do have to earn money and status. For some men, particularly those without recourse to legitimate methods of earning money and status, crime and violent behavior can be a way to earn those things. What Keeps Young Men on the Straight and Narrow? Presence of a biological father when growing up Legitimate means of obtaining resources and status Contemporary patterns of crime in the U.S. All types of crime have been decreasing recently. Why has crime decreased recently? Better policing, economic growth, and changing demography and a decline in the proportion of people in high-crime ages Levitt’s controversial idea of legalized abortion playing a role in recent declines in crime Another explanation is that because incarceration rates have increased, there are fewer cases of former criminals committing new crimes. The United States has the highest prison incarceration rate in the world at 756 per 100,000 of the national population. It is followed by Russia (629 per 100,000), Rwanda (604 per 100,000), St. Kitts & Nevis (588 per 100,000), and Cuba (approximately 531 per 100,000) Why do people commit crime? Where you live: Social disorganization Poor neighborhoods with high rates of people moving in and out, many different ethnic groups, and high rates of family disruption have the highest crime rates Homes are unwatched, children are inadequately supervised Who you hang out with: Differential association theory If your friends encourage criminal behaviors, then you are more likely to become involved in criminal behavior What do you have to lose? What people have to lose is based on their Attachments People with strong attachments to people who expect them to live up to certain standards are less likely to commit crime Investments People with a great deal invested in a home, a career, a family, or a lifestyle, are less willing to do things that jeopardize those investments. Involvements People involved in many legitimate activities, are unlikely to have the time for criminal acts. Beliefs People who believe strongly that they should act in certain ways, and not in others, are less likely to engage in criminal acts.