This chapter goes into the minds of 28 currently active carjackers in the St. Louis, Missouri area. What these three authors want to find out is the motivation behind these crimes. Spontaneity, hedonism, the ostentatious display of wealth, and the maintenance of honor are the main points of the reasons why carjackers steal cars. (pg 308, pg 2) They explain that a characteristic of street culture is to show off by buying things of status such as a fancy haircut, nice shoes, clothes, jewelry, etc. Some of the carjackers explained that when they run out of money they will steal a person’s belongings along with their car to get back their “social status” of looking good. Opportunity is the all important word that dominates carjacking more than it does most other street crimes, because the targets of such offenses are uniquely mobile. A car will present itself, and is gone in a matter of seconds, so there can be no room for hesitation. (pg 308, p3) One of the chapters labeled “punishing affronts” explains a true story of one of the carjackers. Its start off of the carjacker casually walking home by himself, when suddenly, a car drives by. The driver drives extra slow, blares the music and even gives the guy walking a dirty look. The guy feels like he must steal his car, and does steal it successfully. Even a wrong look given to another on the street is grounds for you to get your car stolen. The look is stab at their status and some just will not have that and instant retaliation is a must. The carjackers that were interviewed said that stealing a car is a thrill ride. To be in dangerous situations where anything can happen gives them excitement. Crime, in this view, is a dance with danger and the “rush” comes from facing adversarial circumstances and overcoming them through sheer for of will. (pg310, p2) The carjackers said they do not think about being arrested when committing their crime. Stealing a car only takes a couple of seconds, and if they do not...
References: Jacobs, B., Topalli, V., & Wright, R. (2010). The Immediate Experiences of Carjacking. In A. Thio, T. Calhoun, & A. Conyers, Readings in Deviant Behavior (pp. 308-311). Boston: Pearson Education Inc.
Class notes from Part 3 Constructionist Theories, Social Deviance
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