Summarising Assessment – 1
Lisa Miller’s article titled “Black Activists Don’t Ignore Crime” was published in The New York Times was a strong rebuke on the social activists who advocate the atrocities and brutalities committed by the police on the black population of America, without taking into account the factual position of the social structure under which such crimes are being committed by the black people. These social activists are also looking at one side of the coin and are not actually taking into consideration the purpose of these crimes and the reason why only black people are involved, (Eck & Eck, 2012).
A large number of social organisations have come into existence at the grass-root level but most of these have been founded by bereaved black women related to a victim of the hate-crime, as this is known in the social circles, political arenas and administrative beehives. One such movement, known as “Mothers in Charge”, though is relatively a small organisation, but it is gaining support in Los Angeles, St. Louis and many other cities. But the irony is that such activism dies out a natural death and is rarely seen under the national headlines. Even if it does grab a few headlines, like the “Mothers Against Senseless Killings”, a Chicago based anti-violence group, the coverage is usually short lived, (Eck & Eck, 2012).
The biggest reason why these groups are able to grab so little attention is because the communities which start the protest against violence, have been generally found to be lacking in economic and political resources which are so essential for engaging with the elite news media or for hiring state level lobbyists or at the national level. The access factor of these small groups is restricted to the level of the local mayor’s staff or the city council members, the district attorneys or other city officials, (Eck & Eck, 2012).
Analysing the Article
In the summary provided above, the full impact of the article and its contents cannot be ascertained. It was also noted that the article in itself was not covering all the concerned aspects of the topic, which gives the impression that the article is about the grievances, problems and social hardships being faced by the black people in America. I do agree with this. The article does, in all its reflective references, concentrate only on the plight and deprivation of the black community. It should have given a better insight into the living conditions, the economic hardships and the social inequalities being faced by this community. Moreover, a more detailed outline and comparison should have been drawn between the black community and the white community. Also necessary was a comparison between the life style of the white community and the black communities, (Sparrow, 2000).
I have come across an article titled “Knowledge Transfer in Action: Crime Reduction through a Regulatory Approach” written by James Royan and John E. Eck. As the name of the article suggests, the authors have tried to present a retrospective view of the authorities when dealing with criminal activities in a civilised society. I could easily related their views with my learnings from my course work on The Meaning of Crime: Social Structure Perspective. In this course work, I got the opportunity to learn about the impact which the environment, socialization and our surroundings are able to create on the criminality in our social structure, (Sparrow, 2000).
On the same note, Royan and Eck have touched upon the four main perspectives which are prevailing in contemporary criminology:
Legally, crime is considered to be that human conduct which is in violation of the criminal laws of a state or federal government or of a provincial or local jurisdiction which has the power to make these laws.
Politically, crime is considered in terms of the power structures which are existent in the society. In this context, all Criminal Laws of the land are not related to the popular notions of right and wrong which are inherent in the society.
Sociology defines crime as an antisocial act which needs to be repressed in order to preserve the existing system of social harmony.
Psychologists believe that crime is a behavioural problem, which raises the difficulties which are contrary to the broader and acceptable social arrangements of the society, (Grabosky, 2011).
I have come across statistical lapses which are encountered while collecting data. It was noticed that only those crimes are included in the UCR (Uniform Crime Reporting Survey), which are reported to police. Sexual assault was the most unreported crime in UCR and was showing the inconsistency in the reporting methods of the police. The police only resorted to “counting” of the incidents of crime. Hence, these resulted in
Dark Figure of Crime which considered of unreported and under-reported criminal activities in the society, (Grabosky, 2011).
It is not out of place to mention that there are Three Main Theoretical Positions connected with crime –
- Social Structure Perspective
Crime is considered to be the result of an individual’s “location” within the social structure.
- Social Process Perspective
Crime results from the inappropriate socialization and learning process of the individual.
- Social Conflict Perspective
Crime happens because of the individual’s struggle within the group and class to which it belongs.
This leads us to believe that crime has three main categories:
- Violent Crimes
- Property Crimes
- Crimes which are against public order
In conclusion, it will not be inappropriate to say that crime cannot be discussed singularly, but has to be considered in the whole perspective of the social fibre of the society. We must take into consideration all the six elements discussed in the conclusion while taking any decision with regard to a specific section of the society.
List of References:
Eck, J. E., & Eck, E. B. (2012). “Crime place and pollution: Expanding crime reduction options through a regulatory approach.” Criminology and Public Policy 11(2): 281-316.
Grabosky, P. (2011). On the interface of criminal justice and regulation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Sparrow, M. (2000). The regulatory craft: Controlling risks, solving problems, and managing compliance. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.