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Realist theories

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Realist theories
They see crime as a real problem, especially for its victims, and they propose policies to reduce crime.
Right realism
Approach to crime deriving from the right-wing theories of James Q. Wilson and emphasizing 'zero tolerance'. It has been very influential in the UK and USA.
Right realists
They are mainly concerned with PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS to reduce crime. In their view, the best way to do so is through control and punishment, rather then by rehabilitating offenders or tackling causes such as poverty.
Right realists
For them, crime is the product of three factors: biological differences (personality traits such as aggressiveness/low intelligence), inadequate socialisation and the underclass, and rational choice to offend.
Biological differences AO2
Critics argue that evidence for for intelligence being biologically determined is limited. Even if it is, it may not explain offending; Lilly et al. found that differences in intelligence accounted for only 3% of the difference in offending.
Ronald V. Clarke
His rational choice theory assumes individuals are rational beings with free will. Deciding to commit crime is a CHOICE based on a rational choice of calculation of the consequences. If the rewards of crime appear to outweigh the costs, then people will be more likely to offend. RRs argue that crime rate is high because the perceived costs are low; e.g. little risk of being caught and lenient punishments.
Rational choice theory AO2
How can criminals be both rational actors freely choosing crime, wile simultaneously their behaviour is determined by their biology and socialisation?
Marcus Felson
His routine activity theory argues that for crime to occur, there must be: i) A motivated offender, a suitable target and the absence of a 'capable guardian' (e.g. policeman, neighbour. ii) Offenders act rationally, so the presence of a guardian is likely to deter them.
Wilson and Kelling
They argue that we must keep neighbourhoods orderly to prevent crime taking hold. Any sign of deterioration, e.g. grafitti, must be dealt with immediately.
Zero tolerance AO2
It allows police to discriminate against ethnic minority youth, the homeless etc. They also result in displacement of crime to other areas.
Right Realism AO2
1. It ignores structural causes of crime e.g. poverty. 2. It is concerned almost solely with street crime, ignoring corporate crime, which is more costly and harmful to the public. 3. It could be used to explain some professional utilitarian crime, which may often involve rational cost-benefit calculations. By contrast, it is harder to apply it to violent crime that results from an irrational outburst (wybuch). 4. Offers clear advice of the direction of criminal justice policy.
Right Realism AO2
The concepts that the New Right employ in relation to their investiagtion have often been criticised as vague and difficult to operate. E.g. the 'approval op peers' used in considerations of 'macho underclass' culture is hard to explore empirically. Rather, the concepts are attacked as constructs, used to justify a particular ideological opinion.
Left realism
A Marxist-derived approach to criminology that argues that crime hurts the most vulnerable in society rather than the rich and powerful, and so more resources need to be spent on helping and protecting these poorer victims of crime. While Marxists believe only a future revolution can bring a crime-free society, they believe we need realistic solutions for reducing it now.
LR criticisms of other theories
1. Tradional Marxists concentrate on crimes of the powerful but neglect w/c crime and its effects. 2. Neo-Marxists romanticise w/c criminals, whereas in reality they mostly victimise other w/c people. 3. Labelling theorists see criminals as the victims of labelling. LRs argue that this neglects the real victims.
Lea and Young
Three causes of crime: 1. Relative deprivation (cultural inclusion and economic exclusion) 2. Subculture (for LR, a subculture is a groups solution to the problem of relative deprivation. Some do not lead to crime e.g. religion which encourages conformity, but criminal subcultures do lead to crime). 3. Marginalisation (unemployed youth have no organisation such as workers the trade unions, so they express their frustration through criminal means e.g. violence and rioting).
Late modernity
In today's society, trends typical of modern society, such as individualism, the decline of community etc. become more intense.
Democratic policing
(LR) Kinsey, Lea and Young argue that police rely on the public for information, but they are losing public support, so the flow of information dries up and they must rely instead on military policing. To win public support, the police must become more accountable to local communities by involving them in deciding policing policies and priorities. Crime control must also involve a multi-agency approach e.g. social services, housing departments, schools.
Reducing inequality
(LR) The main solution to crime is to remove its underlying cause: social inequality. LRs call for major structural changes to tackle discrimination, inequality of opportunity and unfairness of rewards, and provide decent jobs and housing for all.
Left realism AO2
1. Marxists argue that it fails to explain corporate crime. 2. It over-predicts the amount of w/c crime: not everyone who experiences relative deprivation and marginalization turns to crime. 3. Understanding offenders' motives requires qualitative data, but LR relies on quantitative data from victim surveys. 4. Focusing on high-crime inner-city areas makes crime appear a greater problem than it is. 5. Does not explore non-working class crime in any serious way. 6. Tends to dismiss female criminality.