Criminology Discussion Questions

A criminologist may use the analytical tool of link analysis. What is link analysis, and how is it utilized?

Link analysis refers to a big data evaluation technique that helps criminologists analyze connections and relationships among people, places, organizations, transactions, et cetera.  In today’s digital age, a criminologist faces massive data problems and may become overwhelmed with information and identifying useful connections. The link analysis tool address this problem by helping criminologists easily analyze massive data to identify trends, patterns, and connections (Hass, Moloney, & Chambliss, 2016). Thus, it drastically reduces the time and effort required to identify criminal activities.

What is institutional anomie theory? Does this theory seem plausible?

The institutional anomie theory (IAT) hypothesizes that social structures within society may pressure people to commit crimes. As per IAT crime is an indirect outcome of the dominance of the economy over other societal sectors. The theory elucidates that if society is chiefly underpinned on economic interests, other social institutions will suffer due to a decline in social control and a rise in crime (White, Haines, & Asquith, 2017). In today’s world, IAT’s argument does not appear farfetched. For instance, the immense pressure to succeed and profit monetarily, which characterize the United States, is one of the key factors which drive people/organizations to commit crimes.  Existing empirical research on this relationship has consistently shown partial support for the theory (Hass, Moloney, & Chambliss, 2016). Thus, the IAT provides a reasonable theoretical basis for predicting the relationship between social structures within society and the crime rate.

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What is deviant place theory? Does this theory seem plausible?

The deviant place theory suggests that a person is more likely to become a crime victim when in high crime areas. Exposure to high crime areas increases the probability of an individual coming into contact with criminal offenders. The theory further elucidates that it is not the presence of potential victims that encourage criminal activities, but instead is availability of many offenders who are highly motivated to commit crimes (Burke, 2017).  According to Burke, deviant places refers to poor, highly transient, densely populated neighborhoods with residential and commercial properties side by side. Numerous research works have shown that poor neighborhoods that are densely populated report the highest rates of crimes (Hagan & Daigle, 2018). For instance, in 2019, Baltimore city’s crime rate was nineteen times the national average (Iyer, Knott, & Cantora, 2020). Hence, the deviant place theory provides a plausible theoretical basis for understanding crime.

In the context of criminology, what is event charting? How is it used by a criminologist?

Event charting is a link analysis technique used in the criminology field to identify and explain a complex group of facts in a criminal investigation. In event charting, criminologists use a diagram that represents events in a chronological manner. Event charting helps criminologists identify a timeline of events and their relationship to a given crime. It displays a great deal of information in as little space as possible using a chart (Hagan & Daigle, 2018).

What is deductive logic? How might a criminologist engage in deductive logic in their work?

Deductive logic refers to a type of reasoning that moves from the general to the specific. Thus, it entails the movement of reasoning from the general questions to narrow specialized questions, whereby it begins with a theory moving towards testable hypotheses (Hagan & Daigle, 2018). A criminologist can utilize deductive logic in many scenarios, including crime scene investigation. For instance, a criminologist might begin their investigation with a preexisting theory about the crime scene. He/she would then review data and evidence to develop more specific descriptions of the crime phenomena. The process then narrows further whereby the criminologist evaluates particular observable facts to confirm or disconfirm theory (White, Perrone, & Howes, 2019). Thus, deductive logic is essential to criminology since it allows criminologists fairly test the validity of their theories/ideas/claims.

How is criminology helpful to law enforcement? Provide specific examples of when criminology theory has assisted law enforcement?

Criminology plays an instrumental role in the criminal justice system by providing theories to help law enforcement agencies combat crime. For instance, the deviant place theory has helped the criminal justice system curb crime by aiding in identification of areas that are more susceptible to crime. Using this theory, law enforcement agencies such as specific area police departments understand neighborhoods where they should heighten their policing attention in an effort to make deviant areas relatively safer (Hass, Moloney, & Chambliss, 2016). Another example of the use of criminology theory is the use of deterrence theory to help prevent crime. Over the years, the US has utilized criminal law as a strategy aimed to deter potential offenders (Hagan & Daigle, 2018). These efforts are informed by criminology.

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