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Criminology: criminal behaviour - Essay Example

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The social problem and social responsibility perspectives are two differing viewpoints in criminology. The social problem approach sees crime as a result of problems in society. Some of these problems include discrimination, family violence, poor quality education, poverty, and problems within the justice system…
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Download file to see previous pages The opposing perspective is social responsibility. This approach emphasizes an individual's responsibility in the crime they committed. Each individual chooses his or her own thoughts and behaviors. Individuals committing a crime make an active choice to choose crime over abiding by the law.
Advocates of these two perspectives have differing views on ways to solve crime. The social problem perspective supports government-funded initiatives that focus on providing a solution to the problems in society that lead to criminal behavior. Most often this occurs through large-scale social programs aimed at improving social conditions. Social responsibility proponents tend to argue that government social programs have no effect on the rate of crime and instead believe in harsh punishment, more police with more power, and individual assistance one-on-one with an offender to rehabilitate him or her to be a productive citizen in society upon release.
There are three major sources of crime data. These are the Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR), the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), and the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
The UCR program conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) includes crime statistics as reported by law enforcement and other such agencies throughout the nation. It contains information on "seven major offense categories [which include] murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft" (Schmalleger 37). Arson was added as a major offense to this report in 1979, and tracking the number of hate crimes was mandated for the UCR by Congress in 1990. The one fault of this report is that it does not include unreported crime; therefore it is not an actual reflection of the rate of crime.
NIBRS is an incident driven reporting program under the FBI, which is slowly taking the place of the UCR. The program requires that additional information be collected about each crime committed, instead of the just the statistics of how many crimes occurred. This information includes demographical information about the people involved, such as age, sex, religion, and the relationship between the people, and the circumstances surrounding the crime, such as location, weapon, influence of drugs or alcohol, and any property taken or damaged. An advantage to this new reporting method is the ability to compare and analyze crimes based on a number of factors.
The final source of crime data is the NCVS. It is coordinated by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which gathers its information through personal interviews with households all over the country that are randomly selected to participate. One of the major advantages of this survey is that it provides a more accurate view of crime, as unreported crimes are figured in to this report.

List and describe the various types of data-gathering strategies discussed in this chapter. Is any one technique ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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