The Social Distribution of Crime

The Social Distribution of Crime

Statistics show that criminal activity is not distributed evenly across the social groups.

Age and crime –Younger men are more likely to commit crime than older age groups.

    • Why? Young males are more likely to be influenced by sub-cultural influences like gang cultures, in which certain types of criminal activity can earn a gang member extra status. Young men or women who come from ‘broken homes’, or dysfunctional family environments, may not have been adequately socialised and so are more likely to turn to anti-social kinds of behaviour.

Ethnicity and crime -Statistics reveal that in the UK there are more young black people in prison than in the top ranking universities. On the surface this would indicate that certain ethnic groups are more likely to commit crime than others.

    • Why? Many sociologists argue that these statistics are misleading and that black people are discriminated against in the legal system. Research shows that black people are more likely to be stopped and searched, arrested and convicted in court. This may suggest that the criminal justice system is institutionally racist.

Locality and crime – Crime is higher in built up urban areas and especially within deprived areas. Levels of crime are usually relatively low in rural areas.

    • Why? It is argued that because urban areas have a high population density, there is more opportunity for crime. Urban areas usually have higher levels of poverty and unemployment and so the motivation to commit crime is higher.

Gender and crime – More men than women commit crime

    • Why? The gender socialization process tends to remove women from situations in which crime is more likely to take place. It is also believed that the judiciary system, which is largely made up of men, may take a softer approach to crime committed by females. Women are therefore less likely to be convicted of the crime of which they have been accused.