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Posts Tagged ‘crime’

Situational Crime Prevention: The (New Right) Theory

Monday, July 10th, 2017

In two previous posts (Categorising Situational Crime Prevention Strategies  and Categorising Situational Crime Prevention: Techniques and Exampleswe looked at some examples of situational crime prevention strategies and techniques and this third post examines the theoretical background to situational crime prevention in a couple of ways:

Firstly, by looking at the broad background in terms of a general “environmental discourse” that encompasses both cultural and physical environments.

Secondly by looking at a couple of specific New Right approaches – Control Theory and Routine Activities Theory – that flow from this general discourse.

 

SCP and the Craving for Hot Products

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

An important dimension of Routine Activities Theory is the element of target suitability and selection. Even in situations where a motivated offender is somewhere that lacks active guardians, how and why they select one target rather than another is an important question in relation to situational crime prevention.

This was directly addressed by Felson and Cohen (1979), for example, in their “VIVA” mnemonic (Value, Inertia, Visibility, Accessibility) but Clarke (1999) has taken these general ideas further by arguing that some potential targets have what he calls “choice structuring properties”.

That is, rather than thinking about crime conventionally in terms of an offender setting out to commit a criminal act, arriving in a place where the act can be committed and then selecting a suitable target some targets – what Clarke terms “Hot Products” – have characteristics that may:

  • Suggest the idea of theft to potential offenders and
  • Encourage them to seek out settings where desired products may be found.

  • In other words, the existence of “hot products” contributes to various forms of both opportunistic and carefully-planned crime and if we understand the characteristics of these products – the things that make them desirable objects (in both the manifest sense of their value and the latent sense of motivating individuals to possess them) – this will contribute towards an understanding of the situational controls that need to be developed around such targets.

    Clarke, in this respect, developed the mnemonic CRAVED to define the characteristics of hot products and I’ve developed two PowerPoint Presentations identifying each element in the mnemonic.

    This version simply displays the mnemonic as a self-running presentation – you can use this version if you simply want to present these ideas to students.

    This version offers the same information but can be used if you want to involve your students a little more. The presentation displays the CRAVED mnemonic but in order to display the meaning of each letter it has to be clicked. If you wanted to see if your students could work-out the characteristics of a hot product (such as a mobile / cell phone) this is the version to use.

    If you want to look in more detail at either the CRAVED mnemonic or Clarke’s ideas about hot products you can download his 1999 chapter “Hot Products: understanding, anticipating and reducing demand for stolen goods”.

    Visualising Routine Activities Theory

    Friday, July 7th, 2017

    Routine Activities Theory has been described (by me, just now) as one of the key theoretical contributions to the development of Situational Crime Prevention strategies and techniques. In broad terms it sees crime as the outcome of both “opportunity” (Mayhew, 1976; Clarke, 1988) and “routine activities” (Cohen and Felson 1979) and represents, for Felson and Boba (2010), “A theory of how crime changes in response to larger shifts in society”.

    While the general theory can appear quite complex to students – and contains numerous developments and qualifications – at root it offers a fairly simple outline of the relationship between, on the one hand, potential offenders and, on the other, the social controls that may exist to deter offending.

    The objective of this PowerPoint Presentation, therefore, is to provide a visual representation of the factors that contribute to both offending and crime prevention, within the context of routine activities theory.

    Patterns of Crime and the Social Characteristics of Offenders: Gender and Ethnicity

    Monday, July 3rd, 2017

    After a brief hiatus, we’re back to business with a fifth example of Jill Swale’s ATSS work, this one focusing on patterns of offending and how differences based on gender and ethnicity (you can easily add further variables, such as age, to the exercise if you want) can be identified and explained.

    The exercise itself is a simple one to organise and run, although you’ll need to update the “Websites and Other Sources” section of the instructions because the suggested web data no-longer works and you’ll need to use texts that reference more contemporary crime statistics. That aside, the exercise is generally straightforward and is designed to encourage students to apply a range of skills to sociological data and research in terms of: 

  • Researching patterns of offending.
  • Identifying major trends.
  • Developing explanations / hypotheses for gender, ethnic and age differences in offending.
  • Testing explanations against sociological research and data.
  • Evaluating sociological research.
  • What’s in the Envelope?

    Friday, June 16th, 2017

    This activity from Sharon Martin is relatively simple to set-up and run and, as an added bonus, can be used with any area of the Specification (both Psychology and Sociology): this example is based on the Sociology of Crime and Deviance.

    The activity is mainly for revision / recap sessions, although there’s probably no reason why it couldn’t be adapted to areas of the course the students are about to study as a form of exploratory activity.

    Instead of asking students to display knowledge and understanding of concepts and theories with which they are already familiar they can be encouraged to research and report on these in some way.

    The instructions for the activity are straightforward and self-explanatory, but the activity does leave teachers a lot of scope to introduce their own variations.

    Making the Sociology of Crime and Deviance 10 Years Younger: Steve Taylor

    Thursday, June 8th, 2017

    Let’s face it the A2 Crime and Deviance syllabus is looking old. The years of blocked aspiration, anomie, unjust labelling and misplaced radicalism have taken their toll. A recent shopping mall poll put most the major theories at pensionable age, and even the dynamic ‘young’ radical ones were seen as ‘pushing 40’!

    But we have to teach them no matter how old and run down they look and so we should because underneath those theoretical wrinkles and conceptual decay, there’s a good body of ideas that still have some life in them.

    So what these ageing theories need is a make-over to see if we can make them look at least ten years younger. One of the best ways of doing this is to import some newer developments that reduce some of those wrinkles and surplus bulges. Examiners will also appreciate students trying to link the old with new, or at least with the newer.

    A useful class exercise, therefore, is to help students give these “classic explanations” a new coat of paint through the use of contemporary connections and examples – here’s a few to get you started:

    Ecological theory may date back to the Chicago School and the 1930’s, but the idea of socially disorganised areas, where formal and informal social control has broken down, was a key idea in Wilson and Kelling’s famous ‘Broken Windows’ theory which was the basis for more recent environmental control theory and a number of policy initiatives, including zero tolerance policing. So don’t leave ecological theory in the 1930s.

    Robert Merton’s Strain Theory may be pre-war but its key idea of rising crime and relative deprivation was not only incorporated into radical crime theory, but was also one of the pillars of ‘left realism’. It also continues to be the key finding of contemporary comparative studies of crime in affluent societies – the greater the inequalities in the distribution of wealth the higher the crime rate. 

    Labelling theory dates back to the 1960’s but we don’t have to stay in the 60’s with Jazz musicians, Mods and Rockers and Notting Hill bohemians to illustrate it. Many of its key concepts, such as stigma, secondary deviance and deviant careers are fundamental to more recent work, such as John Braithwaite’s study of crime and reintegration and the pioneering of restorative justice. So you can get interactionism out of those dated 60’s fashions.

    So there’s life in the old theories yet and with this kind of make-over they can be applied to the more recent, rather than the distant, past and made to look at least 10 years younger.

    Situational Crime Prevention Video

    Thursday, June 8th, 2017

    This is a video version of the Cornish and Clarke Situational Crime Prevention PowerPoint presentation.

    The film runs for around 3 minutes.

    Categorising Situational Crime Prevention Strategies

    Thursday, June 1st, 2017

    Situational crime prevention is an area that has grown in significance over the past 30 years, both in terms of social policies towards crime and sociological / criminological solutions to “the problem of crime”; it involves, according to Clarke (1997), a range of measures designed to reduce or eliminate “opportunities for crime” in three main ways:

    • The measures are “directed at highly specific forms of crime”.
    • They involve “the management, design or manipulation of the immediate environment in a systematic and permanent way”.
    • They “make crime more difficult and risky, or less rewarding and excusable”.

    One potential difficulty for a-level students new to the concept, however, is the number and variety of different examples of situational crime prevention – from spatial and environmental controls (Designing Out Crime), through different forms of target hardening, to various types of formal and informal population surveillance and beyond.

    To help students organize and make sense of this material, therefore, it can be useful to categorise it in terms of different situational crime prevention:

    • Strategies – the primary level of organisation.
    • Techniques associated with these strategies – the secondary level of organisation.

    In this respect the work of Cornish and Clarke (2003) is instructive here because they identity 5 strategies that can be used as a primary level of organisation for ideas about situational crime prevention:

    1. Increase the effort required to commit a crime: This deters a wide range of opportunistic crimes if the time and effort to commit them is increased.
    1. Increase the risks associated with the crime: Increasing the likelihood of apprehension lowers the likelihood of a crime being committed.
    1. Reduce the rewards of crime: If the value gained from offending can be lowered there is less incentive for crime.
    1. Reduce stimulus that provokes crime: Careful management of the social and physical environment reduces incentives for criminal behaviour
    1. Remove excuses: Clearly signposting behavioural rules and laws removes the argument that people did not know they were behaving deviantly or illegally.

    The secondary level of organisation identified by Cornish and Clarke involves 25 different crime prevention techniques (5 associated with each strategy) that can be introduced to students if you want them to dig deeper into situational crime prevention. These ideas will be introduced and explained in a subsequent post (probably, but not necessarily, called “Part 2″).

    Crime and Gender: Critical Thinking and Essay Writing

    Sunday, May 21st, 2017

    A third example of Jill Swale’s work, once more culled from the ATSS archive lurking in my expansive filing cabinet, is an essay-writing exercise constructed around the question:

    “Assess the view that the women’s crime rate, according to official statistics, is lower than men’s because of differential enforcement of the low.”

    The activity has three main objectives:

  • To examine some important studies attempting to explain gender differences in crime rates.
  • To encourage critical thinking about the methods sociologists use, and whether data can always be taken at face value.
  • To help select material for a logically planned and balanced essay.

  • The exercise combines small group and individual work as students are required to examine ways to structure and answer the question.

    Although the resource materials provided are fairly comprehensive they’re now quite a few years old and probably need to be updated with some new material.

    You will need to check the suggested web links are still working and you may need to substitute some of your own.

    NotAFactsheet: More Deviance

    Thursday, May 18th, 2017

    Three new NotAFactsheets to add to your growing collection covering:

    1. Interactionism (labelling theory, personal and social identities, master labels)
    2. Deviancy Amplification (an outline of the model plus the role of the media)
    3. Critical Theory (Instrumental and Hegemonic Marxism, Critical Subcultures)

    Each NotaFactsheet is available in two flavours: with and without short (1 or 2 minute) embedded video clips:

    D4. Interactionism | Interactionism with short video clip 

    D5. Deviancy Amplification | Deviancy Amplification with short video clip 

    D6. Critical Theory | Critical Theory with short video clip

    Why is Gaz in Court for Mugging?

    Monday, May 15th, 2017

    A second example of Jill Swale’s work, lovingly-culled from the ATSS archive, is based around the requirement for students to “solve a mystery by selecting and ordering relevant material through group discussion”.

    In terms of game mechanics, this is a relatively simple sift-sort-match exercise: students work in small groups to link case study material to different sociological approaches to understanding and explaining crime and deviance.

    Once completed the relationships between the evidence and theory can be opened-up for class discussion and there is further scope to set extension work, such as an essay, on the basis of the work done in the classroom. 

    The exercise is designed to encourage students to interpret data and apply theories to a specific instance and while the supplied materials cover a variety of situations and theories, you can easily add or subtract material of your own – such as different forms of evidence and newer theories – by using a word processor to create new cards. This facility means you can tailor the level of work to the requirements of both the whole class and specific students within the class if necessary (by using a group-work format teachers can, if necessary, spend more of their time with students who need a bit more focused help).

    If you find this type of exercise works well for you and your students you should be able to use it as a template to create and explore other scenarios across different Units / Modules – basically any area of the course that requires students to link evidence to theories.

    Deviancy Amplification PowerPoint

    Thursday, May 4th, 2017

    Deviancy Amplification has become something of a classic example of an Interactionist approach to deviance, predominantly, but not exclusively, because of Jock Young’s seminal analysis (1971) of “The role of the police as amplifiers of deviance, negotiators of reality and translators of fantasy”.

    This is a little ironic given that Leslie Wilkins’ original formulation of an Amplification Spiral (1964) has much more positivistic overtones: for Wilkins, the Spiral (or “Positive Feedback Loop”) both described a particular social process – how control agencies unwittingly create crime through their unwitting actions – and, most importantly, was intended to predict how such behaviour would develop.

    While the predictive element is perhaps long-gone (if it actually ever really existed) deviancy amplification remains an important sociological model based on Lemert’s (1951) distinction between primary and secondary deviation.

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    NotAFactsheet: Crime and Deviance

    Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

    I thought it would make a change from research methods to put together a few NotAFactsheets on crime and deviance, so here are the first products of what no-one’s calling a “radical new departure in NotAFactsheet production”.

    These three efforts focus on and around Functionalist-type approaches to crime:

    D1. Functionalist Approaches | D1. Functionalist Approaches (includes short video) Functionalism and Crime includes Durkheim on the functions of crime, Strain theory and General Strain Theory.

     D2. Administrative Criminology | D2. Administrative Criminology (includes short video) Administrative Criminology focuses on New Right ideas about crime prevention and management and outlines some general social policies associated with this approach.

    D3. Right Realism Right Realism outlines the Broken Windows thesis – and it’s critics – in addition to noting a range of social policies that have stemmed from a right realist approach to crime.

     

     

    Connecting Walls Collection

    Monday, April 24th, 2017

    Oriel Sociology has been busy creating and posting a huge number of revision Connecting Walls on Twitter and, in the spirit of “pinching other people’s stuff and sharing it with a wider audience”, I’ve pulled all their tweets together into one handy blog post for your – and your students’ – greater convenience.

    So, if you’re looking for a fun way to spice-up classroom revision with a bit of competitive tension, try some or all of the following:

    Education

    Education Wall 1

    Education Wall 2

    Education Wall 3

    Education Wall 4  

    Education Wall 5

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    Connecting Revision Too

    Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

    If you’ve seen the previous post on Connecting Revision  you may have tried the Family Connecting Wall created by Steve Bishop (and maybe even been inspired to think about creating and sharing your own?).

    He’s now created a new Wall to add to your revising pleasure and this time it’s on Crime and Deviance.

    As ever the format’s a simple one: find 4 groups of 4 related ideas within the 3 minute time limit and then explain what connects each group.

    Visualising Strain Theory

    Monday, March 27th, 2017

    Although examples of Merton’s “Responses to Strain” are fairly straightforward I always think it helps students if they can visualise the basic idea involved – something this simple image I came across on Twitter (apologies, but I don’t know who created it) does very well, I think.

    So, on the basis you can take a good thing and make it even better (probably) by adding a bit of movement I thought it would be helpful to create a PowerPoint Presentation based around the graphic (and also to add some “ends / means” text into the mix; mainly because I can, but also because it’s helpful to associate different forms of response with different combinations of cultural goals and structural conduits).

    The PowerPoint has both click-to-advance and auto-advance versions and its main use, as I see it, is as a visual teaching aid when introducing and discussing response to strain. There’s also, if you prefer, a video version of the Presentation.

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    Left Realism

    Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

    A relatively easy way for students to get a handle on Left Realism is through three simple visualisations that can then be used to build-up a picture of this general approach to both explaining crime and deviance and suggesting solutions to the problem of crime. These visualisations involve:

  • A three-cornered approach to deviance
  • The criminogenic triangle
  • The square of crime.
  •  

    A PowerPoint version of the above is also available for download.

    We can explore these ideas in more detail in a number of ways.

    (more…)

    Updating Crime & Deviance

    Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

    Day Workshop with renowned sociologist and film-maker, Dr Steve Taylor

    Strain, Labelling, Realism etc. are still important because they underpin a lot of research in the contemporary study of Crime and Deviance. But supposing your students could demonstrate this with new concepts & 21st. Century research examples?

    This Workshop consolidates the key theories and concepts and then illustrates their application with clear, easy to understand up to date research.  For example, students read about moral panics, but how much more impressive could an answer be if they were able to bring in the recent concept of ‘amoral panics’?

    Content: 

    • Crime, Deviance, Order and Control: clarifying sociological approaches.
    • Globalisation & Crime: filling the gaps by linking to familiar sociological approaches
    • Researching Crime: methods clarified, evaluated & illustrated with new ideas & interactive Q & A practice.
    • Theory & Method: this challenging topic laid bare, simplified and illustrated.

    Free Crime and Deviance films provided!

    Additional Sessions on Family, Youth Culture & Research Methods, if required.

    What Teachers say 

    “Delivered with a real affection for the subject with pace and professionalism   Partly as a consequence of working with Steve we had an excellent set of results”: Stephen Base Verulam College

    “Excellent day. He brings in contemporary evidence and great links to exam skills”: Ann-Marie Taylor Coleg Cambria

    “Brilliant exam focused training”: Mandy Gordon, Highfield School

    “Our students loved it, Steve got them to think outside the box”: Pauline Kendal, Bedford Sixth Form

    What Students Say

    ‘He was even better than in the videos. Loved it.’

    ‘Makes the theories come alive by linking them to the studies’.

    ‘Liked learning about the new studies, especially the gang ones.’

    ‘I feel so much more confident after Steve’s class.’

    ‘I could never understand theory and methods and now I do.’

    Cost: inclusive & regardless of number of schools attending

    Day: £500

    Half day: £300

    For more information, contact:

    Email: steve@shortcutstv.com

    Tel: 07771-561521

    ShortCuts to Sociology: Organised Crime

    Thursday, February 9th, 2017

    A few years ago we did some interviews for a film on organised crime that, for one reason or another (money, probably), didn’t get made – if memory serves we were going to include a version on ShortCuts to Crime and Deviance Vol. 1 but it didn’t make the final selection.

    Anyway, I was searching through an old hard disk recently and came across an interview we shot with Dr James Treadwell – who’s something of an expert on organised crime – and decided it might be worthwhile to edit the interview and put it out as part of our occasional, free, Shortcuts to Sociology series. So that’s what I did.

    The film covers some basic introductory stuff (such as defining organised crime) and illustrates a number of different models of organised crime (from clan models to network structure models).

    It’s the kind of material that can be used to introduce a broad range of ideas (and misconceptions) about organised crime – both inside and outside the classroom for flipped teaching: students are introduced to a topic overview that can be considered in greater depth and detail inside the classroom.

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    Deviancy Amplification Spiral: Legal Highs

    Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

    Wilkins’ (1964) concept of a deviancy amplification spiral (or ‘Positive Feedback Loop’ as he called it) has been a staple of the crime and deviance Specification for many years and there’s a range of ways to present the feedback process, both statically and a bit more dynamically.

    Examples of a “successful” feedback loop are, however, a bit thinner on the ground: while “mods and rockers” in the early 1960s and “dangerous dogs” in the early 1990’s are good historical examples, a more-contemporaneous example is the banning of “legal highs” in 2016 – the consequences of which are just starting to work their way through the criminal justice system, thereby providing an interesting application of the amplification spiral

    Braithwaite and Restorative Justice: Crime Prevention and Control

    Thursday, January 26th, 2017

    Having spent the past couple of years working on Psychology films we’ve decided to turn our efforts towards a new volume of crime videos – a follow-up to “Shortcuts to Crime and Deviance Volume 1” imaginatively called “Volume 2”. We burnt the candle at both ends to come up with that corker.

    Anyway, one of the scripts I’m currently working on (Social Constructionism) includes the work of John Braithwaite and it struck me that one aspect of crime prevention that tends to get crowded-out of textbook discussions amidst all the talk about zero-tolerance policing, target-hardening and a general “war on crime” is his notion of restorative justice.

    This is something of a shame, not only because it offers a way out of the seemingly endless “retribution cycle” of offending – punishment – reoffending but also because it’s a useful (and somewhat rare) example of a broadly social constructionist approach to crime prevention that can be used by students as a counterweight to the variety of prevention strategies that focus, to varying degrees, on an acceptance of crime and a strategy of “making crime more difficult”.

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    GCSE AQA Sociology Revision Guides

    Friday, January 13th, 2017

    I recently came across this interesting set of guides for the AQA Spec., written by Lydia Hiraide of The BRIT School.

    The guides are dated 2013 – and although I’m not sure how they might fit into the latest Specification, I’m guessing there’s going to be a lot here that’s still relevant.

    You can download the following guides in pdf format:

    Socialisation

    Family

    Education

    Crime and deviance

    Social inequality

    Unit 1: Revision guide

     

    Sociology ShortCuts: State Crime

    Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

    The ShortCuts series of films Is designed to give teachers and students very brief introductions to / overviews of a range of contemporary sociological ideas through the medium of leading academics.

    In this film, Professor Sandra Walklate offers a quick (2-minute) illustrated introduction to the concept of “the criminality of the State”.

    Crime, Deviance and Methods: Self-report Questionnaire

    Thursday, January 5th, 2017

    Opportunities for students to link crime, deviance and research methods in a practical way are often limited by the constraints of time and space – but one simple approach that can be used effectively in the classroom is a self-report crime questionnaire. Although there are a few of these kicking around (from Ann Campbell’s onward…) this is a relatively recent one I’ve put together based on questions contained in the UK Crime and Justice Survey.

    It can be downloaded as a Word document so that you can amend it easily (you may not want to include all the 40+ questions and you may want to substitute some of your own…). 

    The document suggests some possible classroom uses for the questionnaire – from data and methodological analysis if you’re leaning toward research methods to using the data to think critically about official crime statistics based on categories like age and gender.

    GCSE Revision Resources

    Thursday, November 24th, 2016

    While it’s probably fair to say that teacher-created GCSE revision resources are a bit thin on the ground (and take a bit of finding), there are useful resources “out there” if you’re prepared to do a lot of searching. To save you the time and trouble, here’s some I found earlier (the quality’s a bit variable, but needs must etc.):

    gcsemedia

    Unit 1 Revision Guide

    Unit 1: Education

    Unit 2 Topics – keywords / concepts

    Crime and Deviance

    Mass Media Revision Booklet

    Unit B671 (Sociology Basics) Revision: Methods / Culture / Socialisation / Identity