Crime is a deviant act. Definitions of crime are society and time specific. Crime is unacceptable and most societies are eager to stamp out crime. Please also consult: Deosaran Ramesh (2007) Crime, Delinquency and Justice, Ian Randle Publishers. Muncie, John & David Wilson (2004) Student Handbook on Criminal Justice and Criminology Cavendish Publishing What is crime? What are the various types of crime? There are both violent and non-violent crimes. Class Discussion: Can you provide examples of both types of crime? Describe the crime situation in your country. What are the major crime problems?
Causes of crime
Please remember theories of deviance that we discussed earlier Discussions on the causes of crime in Jamaica tend to focus on two types of explanations: Economic Political Crime and the economy Most commentators see forces at work in the 1970s as precipitating the upsurge of violent criminal activity in the island, and to Headley (1996) the defining events were: The decline in agriculture Failure of bauxite and tourism to absorb displaced workers
Result: The large pool of unemployed, unskilled youths had to find alternative, often illegal, means of surviving. Crime, was the response to material conditions inherent in economic dispossession and general helplessness. It is not a violent subculture, he stressed, but the need to exist in a society where survival is not assured by other collective means. (Headley, 1996). Poverty
Poverty and unemployment in the island had robbed the poor of the legal means of gaining a livelihood and had reduced the opportunity cost of engaging in crime. A number of factors were highlighted as the cause: The Report of the Committee on Political Tribalism (1997) pointed to the cumulative effects of the protracted period of economic decline during which population growth had outstripped job creation and in which the education system had failed to produce young people with the skills to perform in the formal economy. The National Committee on Crime and Violence (2001) underscored the loss of independence which comes with economic hardship, making the poor more likely to commit crime. Levy (1996) referred to the devouring cycle of poverty and violence. Witter and Anderson (1991) pointed to inequalities due to structural adjustment that caused a shift in distribution of national income, neglect of agriculture etc Harriott (2000) argued that the government policy of divestment saw state resources transferred to rich insiders and political favourites. There was a wide disparity between this small favoured element and the larger sector in which the jobs available did not pay enough to deter one from demeaning activities such as begging, or indeed from seeking illegitimate alternatives. Political explanations One of the major turning points in our criminal history was the advent of highintensity political violence in Jamaica, leading to a polarized society (Harriott, 2001). The poor economic state of affairs in Jamaica in the late 1970s laid the foundation for the emergence of organized political violence, a struggle for „scarce benefits.‟ Emerging from this struggle were a number of politically homogenous communities which were „militantly hostile‟ to those adjacent communities which were not in support of their party. Kingston is divided into political constituencies shared by the two main political parties, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People‟s National Party (PNP). The events of the 1970s accelerated the transformation of these constituencies into „garrison constituencies.‟ (Carl Stone) What is a Garrison Constituency? ‘Constituencies in poor areas which are local seats of power and, at all cost, must remain in the control of one of the two political parties.’ Chevannes (1992) highlighted three ways in which garrison constituencies are formed. First, new housing developments may be built and occupied specifically by supporters of the...