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12. Cybercrime  

Matthew Williams and David Wall

This chapter examines the nature of cybercrime and its implications for criminology. It is organized as follows. The first part traces the evolution of the Internet as an environment for the emergence of cybercrime. The second considers the various conflicting definitional problems of cybercrime and offers a method of resolving them. The third part outlines the problems with measuring cybercrime before providing an indication of the scale of the problem. The fourth part briefly explores how those problems are being resolved. The fifth part looks at the governance and regulation of cybercrime, while the final part provides an overview of the various theoretical explanations.

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11. Corporate crime  

Steve Tombs

This chapter examines the emergence of the concept of corporate crime, discussing its meaning and reviewing the extent to which it represents a crime problem. It then considers various dimensions of corporate crime—its visibility, causation, and control—questioning society's will to censure and punish company directors and other ‘rogue’ capitalists.

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14. Economic marginalization, social exclusion, and crime  

Chris Hale

This chapter considers the debates surrounding the relationships between economic conditions and crime. It examines the links between poverty, inequality, and crime, and discusses concepts such as the underclass and social exclusion. For many, integrating people into work is central to combating social exclusion. At the centre of this debate lie not only matters of power and inequality, but also the need to question the nature of paid work and the position it takes within capitalist society.

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17. Young people and crime  

Derek Kirton

This chapter examines youth crime and responses to it. It discusses the key principles around which youth justice has evolved and how the balance between them has changed over time. The chapter considers some of the main theories and models that have been put forward to explain youth crime, including patterns linked to social divisions based on class, ethnicity, and gender. Attention is also given to recent ‘moral panics’, such as young people's use of weapons, gang activity, and involvement in the 2011 riots. Finally, a review of contemporary youth justice policy and debate regarding its future direction is provided.

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18. Crime, culture, and everyday life  

Jeff Ferrell and Jonathan Ilan

This chapter focuses on the cultural significance of crime. It examines the way in which crime and culture intertwine within the lived experiences of everyday life, and argues that a host of urban crimes are perpetrated by actors for whom transgression serves a number of purposes. The chapter charts a world of underground graffiti artists, gang members, street muggers, and other ‘outsider’ criminals, whose subcultures are increasingly the subject of media, corporate, and political interest.

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7. Crime and media: understanding the connections  

Chris Greer

This chapter examines the link between crime and media. It summarizes major themes and debates that have shaped the research agenda, and considers some less well-rehearsed issues such as the changing global communications marketplace, the development of new media technologies, and the significance of these for understanding the connections between crime and media. The chapter is organized as follows. The first section offers some background information and addresses the crucial question of why exploring media images of crime and control is important. The second section considers how scholars have researched crime and media, and presents an overview of the main findings. The third section examines the dominant theoretical and conceptual tools that have been used to understand and explain media representations of crime. The final section considers the evidence for the influence of media representations, both on criminal behaviour and fear of crime.

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8. Drugs, alcohol, and crime  

Emma Wincup and Peter Traynor

This chapter examines the relationship between crime and drug and alcohol use. The first part focuses on drug use and addresses three key issues: (a) the nature and extent of drug use; (b) the relationship between drug use and crime; and (c) strategies for reducing drug-related crime. The second part explores the same issues in relation to alcohol use.

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15. Gender and Crime  

Azrini Wahidin

This chapter explores the links between gender and crime, charts the emergence of feminist perspectives within criminology, examines the different kinds of crimes in which men and women are involved, and considers the complex and changing relationship between masculinity(ies), femininity(ies), and crime. It deconstructs how these relations have been typically understood in criminological theory, and looks at the different ways in which men and women are dealt with by the criminal justice system.

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6. Psychology and crime: understanding the interface  

Keith Hayward and Craig Webber

This chapter, which introduces the ways in which psychological research has contributed to the understanding of crime and the criminal justice system. It combines a general review of some of the more prominent psychological explanations of criminal behaviour with some brief examples of how this work came to be employed in criminological theory and practice. At various intervals, the chapter also adopts a more reflexive stance in a bid to develop some critical insights into the way that ‘criminological psychology’ is portrayed and perceived within the popular imagination.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

16. Biological and psychological positivism  

This chapter discusses how theories from biology and psychology can help in understanding crime. It studies individual positivism: that is, those aspects of positivist criminological explanations that look for differences between criminal and non-criminal populations. Biological and psychological positivists believe that by measuring biological and psychological differences between offenders and non-offenders they will discover a clear explanation of criminal behaviour, a truth that explains criminal actions. When researchers discovered physical or biological differences between offenders and non-offenders they tended to assume that those characteristics were causative and explained the behaviour. However, there is a big jump between finding differences and assuming that the difference explains the behaviour. The chapter traces the journey of biological and psychological positivist thinking from its roots in the 19th century through to the approaches in the 21st century where these biological and psychological traits are merely seen as one factor which may increase the likelihood of criminality rather than causing it.

Chapter

Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

29. Rehabilitation of offenders  

This chapter examines the rehabilitation of offenders. Much discussion of crime and criminality focuses on the culpability of the offender, the management and control of crime, and the nature and legitimacy of punishment. However, there is another strand of criminological inquiry (and practice) which is more concerned with understanding offenders, appreciating ‘what makes them tick’, and seeking out tools and methods for reintegrating them into society as conventional law-abiding citizens. In effect, such approaches are concerned with identifying the causes and consequences of criminal behaviour and developing interventions which will enable offenders to change their behaviours and thought processes to enable them to take advantage of legitimate opportunities and to live decent lives. The chapter explores some of the beliefs and assumptions which underlie this kind of approach to crime and criminality. It considers some of the implications in terms of criminal justice practices and evaluates the outcomes of rehabilitative approaches. Finally, the chapter reflects on some of the limitations of this perspective on crime, both empirically and theoretically.

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Cover The Oxford Textbook on Criminology

2. What is ‘crime’?  

This chapter discusses what crime is. No matter how universally its ideas and regulations are accepted, it is important to understand and not lose sight of the fact that crime is a social construct. Because crime is socially constructed, ideas of unacceptable and criminal behaviour alter across cultures and over time. Many suggest that what is known as the ‘harm principle’ might be the best standard by which we should decide whether an activity should be criminal. This principle holds that if conduct is not harmful to others it should not be criminal, even if others strongly dislike it. The chapter also looks at the concept of deviance and identifies: what kinds of activities are disapproved of (seen as deviant) and why; which of these are criminalised and why; what the criminal law may reveal about society and what matters to it.

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16. ‘Race’, ethnicity, and crime  

Marian FitzGerald

This chapter begins by exploring notions of ‘race’ and ethnicity. It then provides some background on how particular groups have come to be defined as ‘ethnic minorities’ in Britain and what the official statistics on these groups say about the differences between them—with particular reference to known risk factors for offending. After outlining the history of these groups' relations with the police and public perceptions of their involvement in crime and disorder, it considers trends in the official statistics on ethnicity and offending. The chapter argues that criminologists must interpret crime statistics in the light of relevant criminological theories rather than giving primacy to explanations which treat the experiences of different ‘ethnic’ groups as if they were unique.

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19. The politics of law and order  

Marian FitzGerald and Chris Hale

This chapter traces the breakdown in the consensus among political parties that decision making within the criminal justice system should appear to be ‘above politics’ and considers the ways in which crime became an increasingly contested arena of political competition. The discussions cover the politics of law and order in the UK since 1945, and during the periods 1945–70, 1970–92, and post-1992.

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15. Personality theories  

This chapter discusses the term ‘personality’, which is used to describe an individual’s temperamental and emotional attributes that are relatively consistent and that will influence behaviour. It also considers the extent to which the leading psychological explanations of personality development can be related to criminal behaviour. Psychologists use different classifications—some might include considerations of biological factors or aspects of mental disorder such as psychopathy within the category of personality—and refer to a persistent or stable personality characteristic as a trait. For many years, they have devised tests aimed at measuring personality traits in an attempt to test the hypothesis that people who are prone to act in an antisocial way are distinguishable from ‘normal’ people.

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16. Violent, aggressive and sexual offences  

This chapter shows that, although psychological explanations have been used to explain various types of criminal or deviant behaviour, it is violent and sexual offences that are most frequently subjected to analysis. Many crimes involve behaviour that was formerly considered perfectly acceptable, but which society has subsequently decided to criminalise. However, psychological theories are particularly suitable for explaining unusual behaviour that often appears aggressive and is likely to be deprecated in most countries. Some may indulge in a range of criminal offences that many people find easy to understand, if not condone: crimes against property—which make up the bulk of recorded criminal offences—being perhaps the best example of this. Despite the fact that violence was far more common in earlier centuries, many people nowadays find excessively violent and sexual crimes far more difficult to comprehend.

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2. The statistics on crime and their meaning  

This chapter discusses crime statistics, which, as with any other form of statistical information, are often referred to by the media as if they provide a true measurement of crime. It is now increasingly accepted that criminal statistics provide a deficient guide to both the level of crime and trends in criminal behaviour. There has been a massive increase in the amount of statistical information promulgated about crime in the past few years. This reflects in part the greater sophistication in statistical techniques, but is mostly a consequence of the growing political interest in the criminal justice system and an accompanying call for greater accountability and openness. However, there are some facts that appear incontrovertible from all measurements of crime in England and Wales.

Chapter

Cover Criminal Law

2. Actus Reus: The Conduct Element  

The actus reus is a central aspect of criminal law that defines the harm done to the victim and the wrong performed by the defendant. In many cases this involves proof that the defendant caused a particular result. A defendant will be held to have caused a result if but for their actions the result would not have occurred and there has been no intervening act of a third party. This chapter begins by distinguishing the component elements of a crime. It then discusses the voluntary act ‘requirement’; causation; classification of offences; the need for a voluntary act; omissions; and seeking a coherent approach to causation.

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10. Sex crime  

Terry Thomas

This chapter examines the nature of sexual offending and the forms it takes, as well as the enhanced social response being made. The discussions cover forms of sexual offending; criminal processes; civil measures for public protection; public access to the sex offender register; and mental health and sexual offending.

Book

Cover Criminology

Stephen Jones

This expanded seventh edition of Criminology provides the reader with a clearly expressed and concise analysis of the main sociological and psychological theories of crime and deviance. It is written on the basis that, to facilitate understanding, it is necessary to provide a full account of the historical background and development of these theories. The book also contains an extensive discussion of the perception and nature of crime. It has been completely updated with the significant developments in key areas, such as criminal statistics and the latest research in the scientific study of behaviour. The book is written in a clear and readable style that helps students understand even complex aspects of criminology. In drawing on a wide range of research, the author seeks to ask the right questions, rather than provide definitive answers. The book is thoroughly referenced, providing plenty of opportunity for further reading for those interested in researching the area in more detail.