There are many reasons why crime happens. You could blame society for tolerating and expecting it, you could blame the police department for budget cuts, or you could look at criminological theories for explanation. Almost half of Minneapolis’s population is minorities/foreigners, younger than other cities average age, have below average income levels with higher costs of living, suffer mental health issues, and have an overwhelming gang epidemic. Those factors offer insight into crime theories. We will look at differential opportunity theory, general strain theory and the subculture-of-violence theory.
Differential opportunity theory surfaced around 1960, where Lloyd Ohlin and Richard Cloward worked together to propose a theory of delinquent gangs. Conlkin (2013) states this theory encompasses that people “lack access to legitimate means to reach culturally approved goals, and turn to illegitimate means to achieve those goals. While we know there are also legitimate ways to obtain goals, legitimate chances of achievement decreases as…one descends in the class structure”. To an undereducated and underpaid foreigner, the benefits of delinquency are high and its costs are low. Often, this group is left unsatisfied with their gains and this can be associated with income generating crime as well. The more dissatisfied with their monetary situation, the deeper involvement into income generating crime (Conklin, 2013).
Because not everyone has the same access to social rewards, illegitimate opportunities are produced from the strain. This theory occurs more often, where there are adult criminal role models and the youth follow suit. When the adult criminals are absent, youth become angry and engage in violent crime, or retreat into drug use. Crime becomes attractive, as a means to an end. In closing, because this “group” of people feels access and legitimate ways are blocked, influencing a decision of crime as an easy one.
Another theory that can explain crime is the general strain theory. This theory builds off Merton’s anomie theory. Robert Agnew claims that this theory, which he further reworked in 1992, builds off three types of strain: the failure to achieve goals, negative treatment by others, and the loss of things of value. Strain is most likely to lead to crime when it is high in importance and understood unjust. This theory sounds like the above theory, in that, Agnew (2012) states that crime results when goals cannot be met through legitimate actions. This focuses on the goal of success, and that lower class individuals have trouble achieving these goals because they are less educated and lack the means for better education. Agnew (2012) states that the higher the frustration from not achieving goals, the higher the likeliness of crime. His research finds that crime is highest among those with both low educational and occupational expectations and desire. Thus, these groups of people do not have much; do not expect much, so there is...