Essay A General Theory of Crime

2134 Words Aug 8th, 2005 9 Pages
A General Theory of Crime
(Michael R. Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi)

Term Paper
Soc 203
Prof. Ortiz
12th December 2002

Crime is a serious issue in the United States and research shows that it is running rampant, and its effects are felt in all socioeconomic levels. Each economic class has its own crime rates and types of crime. It is a mistake to think of crime as a lower class problem. Crime is a problem for all people. The lower classes commit crime for survival while the upper class commits crime to supplement capital and maintain control.
Research also highlight that middle class crime is the most popular while lower class neighborhoods are deteriorating. This paper will focus on "A General Theory of Crime" using
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Crimes highlighted in the UCR are broken down into eight categories of offenses also known as part I offenses, i.e. as rape, murder, burglary, motor vehicle theft, aggravated assault, robbery, larceny-theft, and arson (Siegel, 2001, p.52). The UCR utilizes the hierarchy rule that implies that when multiple crimes are linked to one offender within the same reporting year, only the most serious crime is counted. The UCR also uses another category termed clearance rate, this category highlights number of cases solved based on arrests, usually some cases where there are suspects but cannot be cleared for one reason or another when suspect flees the country, commits suicide, dies, or is convicted in another jurisdiction.


The assumptions and implications of labeling theory in criminology are not agreed upon by all of society, but it is essentially a conflict theory that can explain the process of harmful labeling at the community level. There are communities dominated mostly by African Americans, and communities dominated mostly by those not of African American descent. One of the assumptions in labeling theory is a focus upon the micro level of explanation, but the implications are important for the whole of society. Labeling simply means singling out individuals, tagging and segregating a particular individual or group. Many believe that labeling is biased to the lower

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