Age and Crime

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  • Age and Crime
    • young people have always been the main perpetrators of crime. 15-18 year olds have been the most susceptible to criminality.
      • 22% of 10-25 year olds had committed a core offence (Offending, Crime and Justice report).
    • Explanations of crime
      • Delinquency, Drift and Techniques of Neutralisation theory
        • Suggests that during the period of Status frustration, young people lack identity. To compensate, they occasionally take part in acts of delinquency.
          • However, they justify acts they would usually condemn with the idea that it was special  circumstance. This comes in 5 forms...
            • 1. Denial of responsibility- Denying that they were in control at the time.
            • 2. Denial of injury- The idea that the offence did not cause that much, or any, harm.
            • 3. Denial of victim- The idea that the victim wasn't really harmed anyway.
            • 4. Condemnation of Condemners- Claiming authority are wrong/ hypocritical.
            • 5. Appealing to higher loyalties- Committed for a just reason.
          • This period of Frustration usually disappears after teenage years as individuality grows.
      • Control Theory
        • Suggests that when an individual's peer group is shifted or weakened, the desire for delinquency becomes greater.
          • This is because it is a way of gaining status and respect, and for young people this may come when peer groups are weakened (like when they leave school).
            • According to Cohen and Miller, this most affects the working-class.
      • Statud Frustration: Cohen (1971)
        • Argues that people are caught between childhood and adulthood. lack of responsibility can lead to drifters offending. Peer pressure can also lead to offending, in order to gain status.
          • Younger, lower-class males are more likely to offend than females because of masculinity, street cred etc, this is important at their age as they aim to become men.
            • Some argue that the adrenaline or 'buzz' is more important when they commit a crime.
      • Police stereotype young people as offenders, meaning they are more likely to live up to that  expectation (self-fulfilling prophecy).


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