Property Crimes and Labeling Theory

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Crime is a major part of our society in many different ways. It allows us to lower the human population and put away the people who decide to be deviant. Although in the long run these can be good things crime also allows people to label each other in ways that wouldn’t have happened if crime was non-existent. It seems today that in our society people are getting labeled more often from people who do not really know the person personally. This is a bad habit that America is getting involved in.

There are many different ways that juveniles can be deviant. Some deviance is as slight as running away from home and others as immense as murdering someone. Somewhere in between the two is where property crimes lie. Property crimes are defined as a category of crime that includes but is not limited too, burglary, theft, vandalism, larceny, arson, and shoplifting. They are also defined as non-violent crimes where the delinquent is only committing the crime without force or threat of force on a victim. Once the delinquent decides to force or threaten to force a victim it is no longer considered a property crime but bumps it up to a violent crime and they are more likely to be caught and be charged more harshly.

There are many different theories that try to explain why juveniles commit crimes and act deviant. One of the various theories is labeling theory which focuses on the view of deviance according to which being labeled as a "deviant" leads a person to engage in deviant behavior. The theory consists of how the self-identity and behavior of individuals may be determined or influenced by the terms used to label them. It is largely associated with stereotyping and self-fulfilling prophecy. Many delinquents wouldn’t have ever gotten as far as they had if they hadn’t been labeled as a delinquent and felt like they had to live up to their new name.

The labeling theory was originated in Howard Becker’s work in the 1960’s. Howard says studying the act of the individual...
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