Crime in the United States Essay

4024 Words May 19th, 2012 17 Pages
| | |Violent Crime in America | |Street Violence and Boston’s Dorchester Youth: | |A Program Review | | |

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Many of the theories will be applicable to at least some instances of crime and delinquency and some instances can be explained using more then one single theory.

The Social Learning Theory or the Differential Association Theory states that crime is learned behavior. "People learn criminal behavior through the groups with which they associate. If a person associates with more groups that define criminal behavior as acceptable as groups that define criminal behavior as unacceptable, the person will probably engage in criminal behavior" (L. Leighninger, 1996). Just as people must learn though socialization how to conform to their society's norms, they must also learn how to depart from those norms. In other words, deviance, like conforming behavior, is a product of socialization" [4](Calhoun 176) This theory states that a juvenile can socially learn deviant behavior from those around him/her such as their family, peers, or anyone else that he or she may come in contact with. The parents and peers are the most influential agents in socialization.

Some theorists look at the structure of society to explain juvenile delinquency. In certain situations, a society or even a neighborhood can be structured in such a way that promotes delinquency and criminal behavior. The Social Structure theories link delinquency rates to socioeconomic conditions and cultural

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