Code Of The Street: Delinquency And Drift Theory

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Delinquency and Drift Theory, adapted by Matza (1964), is one of many criminological theories present within Code of the Street. Delinquency and Drift Theory states that many delinquents actually only drift in and out of crime and their values throughout their life (Matza, 1964). When delinquents engage in criminal activity, they consider what Matza calls “techniques of neutralization.” These techniques are used by delinquents to justify and excuse their actions. If these neutralizations were not put in place, an individual would not participate in crime, since they would simply feel too remorseful. Matza claimed that everyone has a moral obligation to the law, but this is broken when these neutralizations are applied to help them better about …show more content…
Many delinquent street kids feel obligated to fight when they believe their manhood has been questioned. When someone does not give them the respect they “deserve,” they make sure they leave with it. In this context, being a “real” man means respecting the code of the street. A victim is seen as less than a person, or less “manly” if they do not know the code of the street. So when crimes are committed, especially gang members, they believe that their actions are justifiable because they victim deserved it. It is implied that that person should have demonstrated and given the other the respect he deserves. This displays a denial of the victim. As Anderson (1999) states, the perpetrator will justify a killing by thinking “‘Too bad, but it’s his fault. He should have known better’” (p. …show more content…
His life was a constant back and forth drift into delinquency and stability. John would repeatedly deny his responsibility for his crimes. When he started selling drugs, he claimed he “had bad luck.” He would state that his life, his way of the street, was the only way to support his family. He needed the money as quickly as possible. His thought process indicates that although he admits to committing the crimes and knows they were wrong, he had no other choice. John also appeals to higher loyalties. He needed the money to support his children. He went broke right before Christmas, and they needed money. John also carries around illegal firearms as a way to protect himself from his own lifestyle. He has to because he is in danger, in his mind it is a necessity.
Concerns over police legitimacy is apparent in the cases of John Turner, Robert, Angela, and many others who live in the inner-city. Throughout the book, Anderson explains how much the code of the street surrounds the mistrust of police. John Turner would explain his distress over not being able to call the police. Many turn their heads when they see criminal acts taking place because they do not trust the police to create justice. Many adapt to a condemnation to the condemners. They believe the police are just as corrupt, so why not act the same

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