Crime and Deviance

Topics: Sociology, Criminology, Crime Pages: 5 (1900 words) Published: November 4, 2012
“Evaluate sociological explanations for the high proportion of young, working class males shown in official statistics on crime.”

This essay will start by making a distinction between the concepts of crime and deviance, followed by an examination how such concepts have been acquired and accepted by society. Further reference will be made to the current crime statistics, and analyse some of the possible explanations for the high proportion of crime that is being committed by young males. Finally, consideration will be given to what the main sociological perspectives functionalism, Marxism and internationalism, would have to say about this whole subject. At first glimpse, crime and deviance are two concepts that for some people mean very much the same, when in reality both concepts mean different things. Crime is assigned to behaviours and actions that either go against or break the law (Kirby et al, 2000). On the other hand the concept of deviance is a lot more complex, because it is a much broader and ambiguous concept than crime, therefore far more difficult to specify. The deviance concept depends very much on what is that society defines as normal at the time, for that reason deviance can be “any type of behaviour that is not considered as normal, and moves away from customs and expectations of society” (Haralambos & Holborn, 2008). Therefore, the concept of deviance is socially constructed. However, crime and deviance are concepts that can easily overlap each other, because all criminal acts are often seen as deviant, but not all deviant acts are considered crimes (Langley et al, 2008). For instance, murdering someone is seen as a crime and is punished by law, while taking part in a protest can be considered a deviant act, but unless a violent act is committed, just protesting is not perceived as a crime. To be able to make a distinction between crime and deviant behaviour, society had to find a way to condense and dominate undesired behaviours by implementing social order, through either formal or informal control. Formal control is enforced and relies on police and the justice system to punish anyone that breaks the law, while informal control can be a sanction applied by family or friends, to encourage good behaviour in the future (Langley et al, 2008). The official statistics for the crime in England and Wales for (2010/2011 cited Home Office Statistical Bulletin, 2012, Online) suggests there is a particular link between crime, gender, social class, age and ethnicity. These official statistics clearly indicates that young males are the major crime offenders. It also provides valuable information, such as revealing the predominant age of criminals, which is between sixteen and twenty four with poor education and unemployed, and that could be influenced by working class males are more likely to be in low-paid, with low working skills, for these reasons criminal behaviour may be used as a source of obtaining money. It also stipulate information related with the ethnic background and indicates that are the people from mix races that commit more crimes, which could be related with immigrants from others countries that when faced with poor living and economic conditions do not find other options apart from turning to crime. This numerical data from the official statistics are collected from the number of crimes recorded by the police, victim surveys and self-report studies (Langley et al, 2008). The validity and reliability value of official crime statistics has always been questioned to a certain extent, but there are several reasons why official statistics can be useful: they are inexpensive, can be quickly obtained, and provide detailed quantitative data which is reliable (Langley et al, 2008). For a number of reasons, and because crime can easily go unreported, the reliability of these statistics are subject to error through disparities in defining and reporting cases. There are several motives for...
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