Crime And Violence: Influence Of Socioeconomic Status

644 words - 3 pages

There are many theories about why crime and violence exist in society. Sociologist have many perspectives on crime. While some believe that crime is caused by biological factors like race and ethnicity. Most people believe that crime is caused by a person’s socioeconomic status or their income. Socioeconomic status influence visibility which determines who is labeled as a criminal.
Of the many theories about crime, one that sticks out is the conflict theory of crime. The conflict theory of crime basically states that people’s socioeconomic status leads to criminal activity (Kornblum and Julian 2012). For instance, it’s the situation of the haves (the people who have money for the things that they want) and have not (the people who want what the haves have). According to Kornblum and Julian, as disadvantaged individuals are labelled as criminals they begin to rebel against societies view of them. Over time they begin to ...view middle of the document...

In the Saints and the Roughnecks, two groups engage in petty crimes and violence. (Chambliss 27). However, one group is viewed differently from the other based on their visibility. The Saints gang consisted of boys whose families were upper middle class families. Even though, they would go out and get drunk and play pranks and vandalize property, at home they were thought of as “good kids”. Since their families were upper middle class they had cars, which they used to go to Big Town on the weekend to hang out. In doing so, they were able to get away from those who would recognize them in their own town. The Saints were actually the more dangerous and destructive of the two groups, but because they were less visible their reputation remained good with teachers, police parents.
On the other hand, the Roughnecks were thought of as mischievous and trouble makers. The Roughnecks were not able to leave their town to engage in their criminal behavior. None of the members of their gang had a vehicle because they came from poorer backgrounds. Furthermore, the members of the gang engaged in petty thefts for profits. Many of the people in the town were aware of it and this very much affected their view of them, they began viewing this group as troublemakers. And over time they began to engage in more and more violence. “Al threatened to beat up a teacher.”…. “Each member of the gang had been arrested at least once. (Chambliss 28) After member of the community continued to label the Roughnecks as criminal, they began to accept their labels. They even started arguments by making remarks to bygoers on the street, only reiterating the labels society had given them.
There are many theories about why crime exist in society. One of the most prominent theories, is the conflict theory. Conflict theorist, believe that crime is caused by a person’s socioeconomic status. Socioeconomic status determine the visibility of a person’s criminal behavior. In the case of the Saints and the Roughnecks, though the Saints were more reckless and dangerous. The Roughnecks were perceived by society as criminals because of their ability to been seen.

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