Discuss the relationship between sport and crime reduction and critically assess the benefits/limitations that sport presents in achieving positive results.
In this piece of literature there will be an in depth discussion of the complicated relationship between sport and crime. There will be a lot of focus on the debate of whether sport plays a positive role in crime reduction in society, and in what ways sport can be used as a method to lower crime in society. This essay will endeavour to critically examine both the benefits and limitations of sport to achieve positive results in reducing crime in society.
The fact is that crime in society isn’t a straight forward issue, it is extremely complex. In this section there will be an assessment of the reasons for why sport is believed to either reduce or influence crime. There are multiple theories to suggest that sport can be used in society as a mechanism to produce a positive influence over crime in all areas of society.
There are many theories for why communities see a reduction in criminal activities when good sports policies are implemented and carried out. One of the theories for this was explored in Mutz and Baur` investigation in 2009 into youths’ involvement in conflict and violence and the role of sport in preventing it. They wrote about the crime opportunity theory, they said that offenders often act “in a purposive and instrumental- rational manner insofar as they evaluate the cost and benefit that might accompany an offence in a given situation.” In other words the perceived likelihood of detection and the effected severity of the punishment define the cost of a crime. They go on to say that the presence of people significantly reduces the likelihood of crimes being committed. This theory has been used to prove that sport can reduce crime, particularly in youths. It is evident to see that deviant actions are dramatically reduced in the presence of authority; figures that monitor the adolescents whilst taking part in physical activity. In many cases this time can be used to witness youths’ misdemeanours and negatively reinforce these actions therefore bettering them (Mutz and Baur,. 2009).
However, there are researchers that oppose this notion that this theory reduces crime in society as a whole but instead most of the time simply delays the crime until away from that environment. An article in `Sport Illustrated by Jeff Benedict (2010) spoke about how instances of serious felonies perpetrated by college athletes who train round the clock are on the increase. This not only directly contradicts the opportunity theory but Benedict goes on to talk about how these athletes were protected by their sporting status and received reduced sentences or no sentence at all. This suggests that sport is possibly increasing crime due to the providing immunity and disrespect for the law in effect glorifying criminal activity (Benedict,.2010).
Another theory that supports these structured supervised sports sessions for youth in the attempt to reduce crime is Fred Coalter` “Antidote to boredom theory”. This theory is a common sense assumption on the old phrase “the devil finds work for idle hands” and links in with the crime opportunity theory. It suggests that “much adolescent crime is opportunity led and giving people something (hopefully constructive) to do hopefully keeps them out of harm’s way”. In other words in the promotion of sport and a productive activity it therefore reduces the temptation to participate in deviant activity (Coalter,. 2007).
It has been theorised that young people, the majority of which are adolescent males, display aggressive or violent tendencies whilst frustrated or angry, this is said to be due to an instincts that we are born with. It was famously stated by Sigmund Freud (1925) that in certain scenarios we are “born to be bad”. In more recent years this theory has been proven to...