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Street crime - Research Paper Example

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Street Crime: Applying Symbolic Interaction Theory Generally, the term street crime refers to any crime committed in a public place, targeting civilians and/or public property. According to the webpage of UK based charity “Victim Support”, street crime is defined as a term under who’s umbrella come a variety of crimes including “antisocial behavior, pick pocketing, alcohol and drug related crime, street prostitution and curb crawlers, muggings, gang fighting, violent on-street theft, intimidation and threats” (, street crime)…
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Download file to see previous pages Street crime does not come under organized crime, even if it is a criminal profiteering racket run by drug dealers on the streets, it will still be classified as street crime. However, Brown (2001) suggests that street crime should be taken under the category of white collar crime and thus treated accordingly. Though overall USA has the highest numbers of crime in the world, in the past few years the rate and severity of street crime in the country has decreased. From 2009 to 2010, the number of robberies across the USA decreased by 10% (Wood, 2012). The general downward trend in criminal numbers can be attributed to better policing methods, improved technology to assist policing and higher degrees of incarceration for criminals (Wood, 2012). An article on NBC News identified the 10 most dangerous cities in America based on statistics provided by the FBI. It was noticed that cities with higher crime rates also had higher rates of poverty and unemployment. According to this survey, the three cities ranking highest on crime were Flint, Detroit and St. Louis respectively (Sauter., et al). According to Forbes however, the highest ranking city according to crime levels was Detroit (Fisher, 2012). Of the contemporary theories that study sociological phenomenon, symbolic interactionism introduced by Herbert Mead in 1969 is one that can be used to study the sociological phenomenon of street crime. Basically, the symbolic interactionism theory says three main things; firstly, that human actions are based on the meaning they associate with those actions, secondly, this meaning is derived from the interaction between people in a society and lastly, these meanings are modified according to the experiences of the individual performing the actions. Further, Mead’s theory of symbolic interactionism has some basic assumptions; that the individual is a social entity that is he/she interacts with others in social settings. The individual is also a thinking entity, which means that as well as external social interaction with others, an individual engages in internal discourse with himself/herself. An individual’s definition of their environment is not a direct calculation but a measurement through experiences in and of that environment. Furthermore, that basis of the actions performed by the individual in a society is the result of what is occurring in that society at a given point in time and thus is relation to or because of those particular events. Lastly, the symbolic interactionism theory defines individuals as active and not passive entities who are not conditioned but generate their action responses according to their social situations. Looking at the phenomenon of street crime in the framework of the symbolic interaction theory we see that it can indeed be defined as a social interactionist phenomenon. Research conducted on this topic by Silverman (2003) talks about street crime and culture with respect to the social interaction ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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