Need help with my writing homework on How Might Deprivation Lead to Crime. Write a 2500 word paper answering; In these models, deprivation leads to crime by placing low-income individuals who have low returns from market activity in proximity to high-income individuals who have things that are worth taking. A formal model of deprivation and property crime in which individuals choose between legitimate and criminal activity can be found in Chiu and Madden (1998, p123-141).
Most empirical tests of the economic theory of crime have been concerned with the deterrent effects of the criminal justice system in particular by how increased police activity and imprisonment rates reduce crime, and whether this reduction is due to prevention or incapacitation (Tierney 1996). In the past several studies have considered the effect on crime of deprivation, albeit indirectly through the effect of low earnings on criminal activity (Roger 2002).
In contrast to the economics of crime literature, which focuses on the deterrent effects of the formal criminal justice system, social disorganization theory considers factors that diminish the effectiveness of informal social controls. Shaw and McKay (1942) identified poverty, ethnic heterogeneity, and residential mobility as the three factors that weaken networks of social control and undermine the ability and willingness of communities to exercise informal control over their members. Sampson (1987) has added family stability to this list. For social disorganization theory, deprivation causes crime indirectly by being associated with poverty.
Several of the classic theories of crime, including Marxist, strain, and utilitarian rely heavily on economic factors such as poverty and unemployment to account for variations in crime rates (Shihadeh & Ousey 1998). Researchers since the nineteenth century have suggested a positive association between poverty and crime in urban areas (Tierney 1996). This may be due to the fact that the relationship between poverty and crime is contingent upon the specific crime category under consideration (Patterson 1991).
In Merton’s (1938, p672-682) strain theory, individuals low in the social structure are perturbed by their failure to attain the material attributes of success, and this failure is more substantial when they are confronted by the success of those around them. Unsuccessful individuals become alienated from society and commit the crime in response. Individual alienation can arise from income deprivation or from belonging to a racial minority.
The predictions of strain and social disorganization theories have been subject to extensive but questionable empirical testing in the sociological literature. The influential study of Blau and Blau (1982, p114-129) found a strong relationship between measured income deprivation and homicide rates in large metropolitan areas in 1970. Such theories rely on the troubling assumption that macro-level relationships reflect the sum of a series of individual-level social-psychological processes. Blau and Blau’s (1982, p114-129) prominently stated that highly stratified environments generate feelings of resentment and frustration in individuals. .
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