Social Change And Crime Rate Trends : A Routine Activity Approach Essay

Social Change And Crime Rate Trends : A Routine Activity Approach Essay

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In the article “Social change and crime rate trends: A routine activity approach”, Cohen and Felson use an ecological theory perspective to explain the increase in crime rates in the United States of America (USA). They gathered data from the USA Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) from the years 1960 to 1975, in the period they witnessed a growth in crime rate trends. Cohen and Felson (1979) present a theory known as Routine Activity Theory and the three elements required for a crime to occur, while refuting the point of crime causation due to poverty. Rather, in their article they focus on the social change in American society, which ties into Sacco and Kennedy’s (2011) Criminal Event.
Cohen and Felson (1979) witnessed a growth in crime rate in 1960 to 1975 in the UCR. In addition, robbery rates increased by 263%, aggravated assault by 164%, forcible rape by 174% and homicide by 188% (FBI, 1975, pg.45 as citied in, Cohen & Felson, 1979, pg.588). Cohen and Felson address the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence’s (1969) sociological paradox which states that there have been important social changes in society, such as the percentage of blacks in cities who have completed high school increased from 43% in 1960 to 61% in 1968, and the unemployment rate for blacks has dropped in the years 1959 to 1967, yet urban violent crime rates increased substantially during this period (1969: xxxvii, as cited in, Cohen & Felson, 1979, pg. 588). Also, Cohen and Felson (1979, pg. 588) have made the assumption that the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence’s sociological paradox can be applied to explain non-violent offences.
In their argument for the causes of the increase in crime rates, Cohen and Felson (...


... middle of paper ...


...ncrease of number of products available likely caused the prices of these products to fall as well.
Furthermore, Sacco and Kennedy (2011, pg. 205-206) note that more women entered the labour force or school, more vacations were taken and the length of these increased, and consumer goods took a major redesign and became small and durable, yet the goods remained expensive valuables. In the context of the Criminal Event, it is evident why there was an increase in crime rates. Since, more women were out working or at school the number of suitable targets increased for predators. House robbers now had the pleasure of robbing houses which lacked guardianship due to the owners being on vacation and also the pleasure of the houses possessing light-weight expensive goods. Hence, there is a relationship between Sacco and Kennedy’s Criminal Event (2011) and routine activities.

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