Sociology: Crime and Official Crime Figures Essay

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Crime and Deviance

Revision notes, exam requirements and exam questions

GCSE Sociology 2012

Agent of social control | An individual or group that is responsible for ensuring members of society conform to socially acceptable behaviour. | Anomie | A situation where large numbers of people fail to follow the generally accepted norms and values. | British Crime Survey (BCS) | A victim survey conducted annually by a team of researchers at the Home Office. | Capitalist society | An economic system where the production of goods is organised for profit and sold to a free market. | CCTV | A television system often used for surveillance. | Chivalry thesis | The belief that the police and courts are easier on women because they are male dominated. | Crime | Behaviour that breaks the law. | Dark figure of crime | The amount of crime that does not appear in the statistics. | Deviance | Behaviour that does not conform to the dominant norms of a specific society. | Functionalism | An approach that seeks to explain the existence of social structures by the roles they perform in or for society. | Indictable offences | Serious crimes, where if a person is found guilty they are likely to go to prison. | Institutional racism | Where the structure and practises of an organisation such as the police, lead to a group being discriminated. | Lad-ette | A young woman who behaves in a crude manner and engages in heavy drinking sessions. | Marxist | An approach which looks at the divisions in society based on the social class groups in the capitalist society. | Official crime statistics | The way crime is officially measured, based on statistics collected by the Home Office. | Peer group pressure | Where someone is influenced by their group of friends to behave in a certain way. | Recorded crime | Crime that is recorded by the police | Reported crime | Crime that is reported to the police. | Self-fulfilling prophecy | This is where people who are labelled and begin to believe their label and behave as such, making the label true. | Self-report study | Surveys of the public which ask them to confess to crime they have committed but for which they have not been caught. | Socially constructed | Views of what is criminal or deviant behaviour are influenced by the values and norms of the society we live in. They are defined by society. | Socially defined behaviour | Behaviour that is thought of as natural but is actually a product of cultural expectations. | Sub-culture | A group with its own set of values and ways of behaviour which are distinctive from the generally accepted cultural values of society. | Surveillance | Is the monitoring of the behaviour of people and objects within society. | Validity | Data is valid if it gives a true picture of what is being studied. | Victim surveys | Surveys of the public which ask them to report any crime they have experienced, whether or not they have reported them. | White collar crime | Criminal acts committed by middle-class people in the course of their work. |

Crime and Deviance Exam requirements:

The exam specification asks that .......

Candidates should be able to: 1. Define the concepts of “crime” and “deviance” 2. Describe the ways in which individuals are encouraged to conform to social rules both formal and informal. 3. Assess, at a basic level, the usefulness of official crime figures, and self-report and victim studies, to sociologists studying crime and deviance. 4. Describe how criminal and deviant behaviour affects victims, communities and society in general.

5. Candidates should be aware, at a basic level, of how crime patterns differ through different groups in society, e.g. class, age, gender, ethnicity and location.

6. Candidates should be able to describe and outline different sociological explanations of criminal and deviant behaviour, such as sub-cultural theories, labelling theory and relative…