There in officially recorded street crime in most

There are
many different explanations of the causation of criminal behavior from the left
realists, abolitionists and the new right to certain biological and social
factors. The left realist approach to crime management is one that is similar
to the British Labour Party. They are critical of perspectives that see longer
prison sentences as the answer to crime, but they are also against the views of
who they deem ‘left idealists’ such as Marxists, Neo-Marxists and radical
feminists. This approach originated in Britain, but more recently has been
adopted and used by criminologists in other countries, such as Australia and
Canada. Major supporters of this perspective include Jock Young, John Lea,
Roger Matthews and Richard Kingsley. One of the basic tenants of left realism
is that crimes other than white collar crimes are serious and they need to be
explained and dealt with. Jock Young (1994) argues that since World War Two
there has been a significant rise in street crime and according this view
criminology has undergone an aetiological crisis resulting from the rapid
increase in officially recorded street crime in most democratic, industrial
societies. (Historylearningsite, 2017) Lea
and Young conclude that they can explain this using the concepts of relative deprivation
and marginalisation. They argue that crime has its roots in deprivation, but
deprivation itself is not the sole cause i.e. living standards have risen in
the last 60-70 years so the level of deprivation has fallen, but in the last
60-70 years crime has risen. Runciman’s (1966) concept of relative deprivation
and crime refers to how someone feels in relation to others, or compared with
their own expectations. This concept helps to explain the apparent paradox in
increasing crime because although people are better off today, media and
advertising give people false expectations for material possessions which
raises the level of deprivation. We have more but feel like we have less so
there is more pressure to get stuff, which generates more crime. (Lea, Young, 1984) Marginalisation is
where a group or a concept is treated as insignificant or peripheral, and left
realists see these people as having no clear goals and no organization to
represent them, for example workers have the goal of wanting better pay and are
represented by trade unions but unemployed youth are marginalised because
nobody represents them and they have no clear sense goals which results in
feelings of resentment and frustration. Having no access to legitimate
political means to pursue their goals, frustration can lead to violence. (Revisesociology, 2016)

Next is the
abolitionist approach, who believe that crime as a concept should be removed,
and that with no concept of crime there can be no criminals. It is seen as a
way of thinking about social control, offering an alternative to the problem of
crime and the punishment that would result. They seek to not find the right
punishment for the crime committed, but seek the right help to the needs for
the victim. According to the World Prison Population list of 2015 the world
prison population has grown by about 20 percent since 2000, which is slightly
above the estimated 18 percent growth in the worlds general population in that
time. Abolitionists believe that prisons will not educate or improve the
individual, much less reintegrate them because subjecting them to prison would
only be feeding the cycle of violence, but they should remain in their comfort
area because removing them from their environment will only contribute to their
un-socialisation. (Mathiesen, 2016) In
Portugal in 2001 they took an abolitionist approach and decriminalized the use
of all drugs, weed, cocaine, heroin etc. They decided to treat possession and
use of small quantities of these drugs as a public health issue, not a criminal
issue so if you are caught it will result in a small fine and maybe referral to
a treatment program, not jail time. Among Portuguese adults, there are 3 deaths
from overdoses for every 1,000,000 citizens compared to 10.2 per million in the
Netherlands and 44.6 per million in the UK. Also, the use of so-called ‘legal
highs’ such as synthetic marijuana and bath salts is lower in Portugal than in
any other country where reliable data exists. (Ingraham, 2015) An abolitionist theory is that of ‘redress’, which
was put forward by Williem de Hann (1990). He suggested ‘redress’ as an
alternative to crime and punishment and it means to set right, repair, rectify
something suffered or complained of like a wrong. This meaning carries no
implications of what reaction would be appropriate, so it invites and open
discussion about how an event should be viewed. It puts forth a claim for
procedure instead of seeking a specific result, redressing a crime opens it up
to a rational debate and calls for ‘real dialogue’. Christie (1982) suggested
that social systems should operate in a way that sees crime as an expression of
conflicting interests, therein opening the way for redress. The idea behind
this is that by allowing for a more complex interpretation of social behavior
the simplistic view employed in criminal law and reproduced in criminal justice
could be avoided. Through contextualization, the dichotomized character of
criminal justice could be replaced with a continuum. People would be forced to
confront the notions of responsibility and guilt rather than reducing them to
manageable proportions using the binary view of criminal justice. (De Haan, 1990)

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The New
Right approach or right realism is associated with the neoliberal government of
Margaret Thatcher and they reject the ideas put forward by Marxists that crime
has a structural or economic cause such as poverty, but that it is the sole
responsibility of the individual. They do accept that high levels of social
disorder and low levels of social control are associated to higher levels of crime
but that we need to be tough on criminals to reduce crime. Although they aren’t
interested in the causes of crime, they still have some theories of what causes
crime; Rational Choice Theory, Broken Windows Theory and Charles Murrays Underclass
Theory. The Rational Choice Theory is that crime is a matter of individual
choice, individuals choose to commit crime. If a person rationally decides that
the risk of committing crime is low or that the punishment will not be severe
they are more likely to commit crime, assuming the reward for doing that crime
is high enough. They are rational in that they weigh up the cost and benefits
to decide whether committing a crime is worth it. The Rational Choice Theory
predicts that crime will increase if crime brings higher rewards such as
material possessions or higher status relative to working within the rules of
society, there is no risk of committing a crime or there is no punishment. Cohen
and Felson (1979) developed this theory in their Routine Activities Theory when
they argued that crime needed three conditions to take place; individuals who
are motivated to offend, opportunity and available targets and the lack of
parents or police who may prevent crime from occurring. (Revisesociology, 2016) The Broken Window Theory is based off James
Wilson and George Kelling’s (1982) article ‘Broken Windows’. It refers to the
fact that untended property becomes fair game for criminals or even ordinary
people who are normally law-abiding. A piece of property is abandoned, weeds
grow, windows are smashed, Adults stop controlling children’s behavior, these
children then emboldened become rowdier. Families move out, unattached adults
move in, teenagers begin to gather in gangs, they refuse to listen to people
and fights occur, litter accumulates, people start drinking on the streets, in
time and inebriated person is allowed to sleep it off on the street then
pedestrians are accosted by beggars. At this point it is inevitable that
serious crime will flourish and residents knowing that this is happening will
adjust their behavior. They will use the streets less often, and when on the
streets will stay away from other people and this will most likely lead to
drugs being sold on the corners and prostitutes on the street, then their
customers get mugged by people who do it purposefully or even violently.
Eventually drug dens appear and murders begin to happen and this escalation beings
to make citizens feel that the police can’t do anything, so they don’t call
them. As a result, this neighborhood is left unchecked and becomes a hotbed for
violence and drugs. (Wilson &
Kelling, 1982) The last theory is of Charles Murray and the ‘underclass’,
in which he argues that the changes in family structure largely contributed to
increased crime rate in the 70’s and 80’s. He contributed this growth in the
growing underclass or new rabble who are people defined by their deviant
behavior and failure to control their children. The underclass has increased because
of welfare dependency , and Murray argues that increasingly generous welfare
benefits since the 60’s have led to more people being dependent on the state.
This has led to the decline in marriage and the growth of lone parent families.
According to Murray lone mother are ineffective agents of socialization,
especially for boys. Absent fathers mean lack of discipline and as a result
young male turn to other role models on the street. (Murray, 1996)

   There have also been studies of biological
causes of crime, one being Cesare Lombroso (1876) who conducted research on the
Italian prison system. He compared anatomical evidence of prisoners to that of ‘ordinary’
Italian citizens. According to Lombroso, criminals possessed certain physical characteristics
such as long arms and fingers, large noses, abnormal amounts of body hair, that
distinguished them from the norm. He argued that criminals were atavists, biological
throwbacks to earlier human evolution. He stated that these atavists engaged in
criminal activity, including violence because it was natural for them to do so.
(Children.gov, 2017) The MAOA gene
or warrior gene has also been associated with the causation of crime. This gene
is responsible for controlling serotonin and dopamine which is linked to aggression,
so low levels of the MAOA gene mean lower levels of serotonin which means more aggression.
Studies performed on extremely violent offenders showed that they all carried a
low activity version of this gene. (BBC,
2014)           

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