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Street Law- Chapter 7 Presentation

Chapter 7
Street Law Text
pp. 74-99
■ Crime- something one does or fails to do
that is in violation of a law.
■ Criminal law makes some acts criminal
and some non-criminal. Legislatures
[and others] make the laws that decide if
an act is criminal or not.
■ Acts are prohibited or required to protect
life and property, preserve individual
freedoms, maintain the system of
government, and uphold the morality of
■ Crime has always been a problem and
there are many laws that deal with
prohibited acts, it is societies job
[through a legislature] to decide which
crimes are severe and which are not so
DISCUSS: Do people choose
crime or does crime choose
Problem 7.1
Assume you are a member of a commission established to evaluate laws. Consider the following acts. In each case decide whether or not
the act should be treated as a crime. Then rank the crimes from most serious to least serious using the following scale: VS [very serious], S
[serious], U [undecided], LS [less serious], NS [not serious], or NAC [not a crime].
a. Robert sells crack cocaine and uses the proceeds to support his mother, who receives public
b. Marley is a passenger in a car she knows is stolen, although she did not participate in the
theft of the car.
c. A corporate executive gives a million dollars to a candidate for the U.S. Senate.
d. A college student downloads music files for free, burns them onto a CD, and uses the CD at a
party where she is a paid DJ.
e. Paulina is caught with a pound of marijuana.
f. Ella leaves a store with change for a $10 bill, knowing that she gave the cashier a $5 bill.
g. Samantha approaches a man and offers sex in exchange for money.
h. Ming refuses to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle.
i. A company pollutes a river with waste from its factory.
j. Pat gets drunk, hits a child, injuring her severely, while speeding through a school zone.
k. DeShawn observes his best friend shoplifting but does not turn him in.
Extra- Wife finds husband messing around runs him over with her car
Extra- Man robs liquor store at gunpoint
7.1 Expert Labeling
A. Sells Crack, help support mom --VS
B. Rider in Stolen Car --NS but could be liable
C. Exec. Gives $$ to Candidate --S
D. Student downloads music --LS
E. Pound of Marijuana --VS
F. Leave store with wrong Change --NAC [unethical, immoral]
G. Prostitution -- S [NAC in Nevada]
H. No helmet --NS [NAC in some states?]
Company pollutes River --S
J. Drunk Driving hits kid in school zone --VS
K. See friend shoplifting does nothing --NAC
Extra Robs store at Gunpoint --VS
Extra Affair, wife runs over husband --VS [affair NAC, immoral]
7.1 Expert Rankings
Robs store at Gunpoint --VS
Sells Crack, help support mom --VS
Drunk Driving hits kid in school zone --VS
Affair, wife runs over husband --VS [affair NAC, immoral]
Pound of Marijuana --VS
Company pollutes River --S
President lies under oath –hmmm Bill Clinton [S]
Exec. Gives $$ to Candidate --S
Prostitution -- S [NAC in Nevada]
Rider in Stolen Car --NS but could be liable
No helmet
--NS [NAC in some states?]
See friend shoplifting does nothing --NAC
Leave store with wrong Change --NAC [unethical, immoral]
Problem 7.2
• Poverty
• Permissive Courts
• Unemployment
• Lack of education
• Drug abuse
• Inadequate police
• Rising population
• Lack of parental
• Breakdown of morals
• Ineffective
correctional system
• Little chance of being
caught or being
• Influence of TV,
Internet, Films, and
Video Games
■ Crime rates have steadily
declined over the past
twenty-five years.
■ Low-income individuals are
more likely than higherincome individuals to be
victims of crime.
■ The majority of criminal
offenders are younger than
age thirty.
■ Disadvantaged youths
engage in riskier criminal
Did you know?
■ Poverty by itself is not a very good
predictor of crime.
■ Tougher penalties don’t necessarily
reduce crime
■ Increasing the number of police doesn’t
necessarily reduce overall crime (the
criminals move to new areas).
Lock ‘em up!
■ Incarceration -being put in jail, imprisonment
by the state
– The US already has the highest incarceration
rate of any industrialized nation.
– There are a lot of people in US prisons, BUT
compared to the number of crimes . . . Only a
small number of people ever go to prison.
– Thus . . . experts say longer prison terms is not
the answer
– Experts say the certainty of punishment is more
important than the length of a sentence.
• The American criminal justice
system holds almost 2.3 million
people in:
■ 1,719 state prisons
■ 102 federal prisons
■ 1,852 juvenile correctional
■ 3,163 local jails
■ 80 Indian Country jails
■ As well as in military prisons,
immigration detention facilities,
civil commitment centers, state
psychiatric hospitals, and
prisons in the U.S. territories.
■ In the US, African Americans are over
SIX TIMES more likely to be
incarcerated as whites
■ Latinos over twice as likely
• The US incarcerates AT LEAST 3 times
more women than any other nation
– Russia
– Thailand
– India
– Ukraine
– Brazil
If you added up all the incarcerated women
in these countries, the US still had 60,000
more women in jail.
■ https://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/statistics_inmate_sec_
What Is Considered
a "Cost" of Crime?
• US spends $450 billion/year on
National Institute of Justice (1996)
• Insurers pay $45 billion annually
due to crime
Community Policing
■ A strategy that builds closer connections between
police an the community.
■ Police have more direct contact with residents
■ Police can participate in crime prevention
■ Police understand the extent of local crime
■ Police can gather information about crime and
gang activity
■ National Council on Crime and Delinquency [NCCD] recommendations
for reducing crime
– Build safer communities with special attention to safe schools,
after school programs, community policing, and prevention of
domestic violence and child abuse
– Reduce the costs and improve the fairness of the criminal justice
– Develop cost effective alternatives to incarceration, reserving
prison sentences for those who cannot be safely treated in
community based programs
– Create effective drug control policies. Reduce funds spent on
catching drug sellers and users; expand funding for drug
treatment and job training; and repeal laws requiring mandatory
prison sentences for drug possession
Problem 7.4
a. Not everyone agrees with the NCCD’s recommendations. Do you agree or
disagree with their recommendations for reducing crime in the United
States. Explain.
b. What do you think are the thee most important causes of crime in your
community? Why did you select these causes? How could crime be
c. What steps should the federal government take to reduce crime? What
steps should your state government take? What steps should be taken
by our local government?
Guns and the Law
WHY are we so concerned about “GUN VIOLENCE”
WHY are we spending so much money preventing “GUN VIOLENCE”?
2015 population of United States- 320,000,000 [320 million]
2015-“Acts of Gun Violence” what ever that means?? = 549,380
2015-People Shot including Suicide Attempt, From Police etc.=
As a Comparison
obviously vary
as to why and
how guns play
a role in crime
and who is to
blame for gun
sales, and how
to regulate the
2015-People involved in vehicle accidents = 6,296,000
In Percentages
2% of the population was involved in a vehicle accident
.2% [NOT 2%] of population involved in “Gun Violence”
.04% [NOT 4%] of population were Shot
In Per Capita
1 out of every 582 were the victim of “Gun Violence”
1 out of every 2791 were “Shot”
1 out of every 50 were in a vehicle accident
Guns and the Law
■ MY OPINION– even if guns were outlawed totally, criminals
would still have them…. Only law abiding citizens would follow
the laws, just like things are today. I totally believe there is
and should be regulation on what, how, and when firearms
can be purchased. I even support laws that deal with mental
issues and gun control.
■ Problem 7.8
Which is a better way to reduce crime- more gun control or less gun
What restrictions, if any, should the government place on the
manufacture or firearms? The sale of firearms? The possession of
Substance Abuse and Crime
■ Substance Abuse- use and abuse of all different kinds of
■ Alcohol
Most widely abused substance in the United States because it is usually
socially acceptable in our society
Drunk Driving-general term for legal terms Driving Under the Influence &
Driving While Intoxicated- which means operating a motor vehicle with a blood
alcohol concentration of .08 or greater for adults and .02 for anyone under 21
years of age.
Implied Consent-Driver agrees to submit to BAC test when they get license.
Substance Abuse and Crime cont.
■ Drugs
■ Illegal drug use costs society billions of dollars a year
■ Between 50 and 75% of all people taken into the criminal justice
system test positive for one or more drugs at the time of their
■ The Controlled Substances Act classifies drugs based on medical
use, potential for abuse, and capability to create physical or
psychological addiction
■ Recidivist- A repeat offender- Many states and the federal
government now have strict punishment for Recidivist’s that break
drug laws. Which has led to an overcrowding of prisons.
Problem 7.10
a. Are there any controlled
substances that should be
legalized [still allowing some form
of government regulation and even
fines]? If so, which controlled
substances should be legalized?
b. What are the most convincing
arguments in favor of legalizing
some controlled substances?
c. What are the most convincing
arguments against legalizing any
controlled substances?
d. How would society change if some
controlled substances were
legalized? Would these changes
be good or bad?
Victims of Crime
■ Crime affects everyone, but most of all the actual victims of a
crime. Each year more than 24 million people, regardless of
age, wealth, race, and ethnicity, are victims of crime.
■ Restitution- Pay back or compensation, by criminals, to their
■ Victim advocacy groups are playing a more significant role in
helping victims recover damages.
Preventing and Reporting Crime
Steps to reduce the risk of crime
– Report suspicious activity to police
– Always lock your doors and windows
– Be alert in high-crime areas such as dark, deserted streets and parking lots
– Use the “buddy system”
– Do not flash money in public
– If you witness a crime or have been the victim of a crime, stay calm and call
the police
– Try to provide police with as much information as possible. Write down
[record] details as soon as possible so you can relay that information
– You may be asked to file a complaint or to testify in court. Your help will assist
the police in preventing future crimes
If you become a victim
– You can give in or you can fight
Understand your limitations if you choose to fight, you will risk injury, and if the
criminal has a weapon expect them to use it.
Many experts advise giving the criminal property if that is all they want
Others recommend yelling, screaming, running, drawing attention [because most
criminals do not want an audience
Are you required to report a crime or render aid?
only if your state has a law requiring you to do so… Nebraska does not… at
this time only a few states do as part of their “Good Samaritan Law” and a
few have been overturned and found unconstitutional