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20 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

State the social definition of crime

An act against the norm of society

State the legal definition of crime

A wrong to society involving the breech of an illegal rule

State the 4 problems that arise with defining crime

Historical context, culture, age and specific circumstances.

Name two strengths of official statistics in measuring crime.

- It measures the volume of crime, so the effectiveness of preventative measures can be investigated.


-It can detect changes in rates of crime so it can provide data for policy decisions and can be used to decide how much money and policing different areas of the country will receive.

State the main limitation of using official statistics to measure crime.

The dark figures. These are crimes which are not reported, recorded by the police and other agencies so they are not included in the official figure.

What's the reason for dark figures in measuring crime?

Lack of evidence to support, injured party drop the problem, informal caution, victim too scared to report, victim thinks its to trivial or crime without victim.

Explain the study that found problems when using official statistics to measure crime.

Farrington and Dowds compared the rates of official statistics in Nottinghamshire with 2 similar counties because their crime rates were so different. Nottinghamshire police were more likely to record thefts of £10 or less where as in the other counties they did not. Nottinghamshire didn't necessarily have more crime but had different recording practices which affected the criminal statistics.

Name the 3 evaluation points of using victimisation and self report studies.

Lying, telescoping and shifting back.

Explain the study that used self report studies?

Belson used self report studies to interview 1,445 boys aged 13-16 about their offending behaviour. 70% had stolen from a shop and 175 from private premises. This revealed a figure of 4X higher rates in offending than official statistics.

What's the conclusion of the study carried out by Canter et al?

There is no clear distinction between organised and disorganised offenders. Being organised is a core characteristic of serial killers as a whole.

Describe what is meant by mental cap.

This is a type of mental schema where it holds an organised set of information about spatial information. According to Canter, information about location of crime scenes reflects the offenders mental cap of the area.

What did the research by Goodwill and Alison find?

That geographical information was more useful than information about timing of the offence, crime scene information and characteristics of the dwelling for linking cases that had been committed by a single burglar.

What is the atavistic form theory?

The belief that offenders are a biologically distinct group of people exhibiting primitive characteristics who are a separate species with a primitive genetic form.

Name 3 characteristics that Lombroso associated with being a criminal feature.

Beak nose, thin lips and large jaw.

What type of people are most neurophysiology investigations mostly carried out on?

People with APD which is anti-social personality disorder. They are sometimes referred to as psychopaths as they show no emotions or feelings for others.

Explain the study carried out by Raine.

MRI was used to compare the brain volume in 21 people with APD and controls. Autonomic activity was also measured in a stressful situation. There was a 11% reduction found in grey matter in the prefrontal area of those with APD. Shows there is a structural brain difference in people with APD which may cause their behaviour's.

Link eysencks criminal personality theory to criminal behaviour.

Individuals demonstrating a high score on extraversion and neuroticism don't adapt well to the environment or societies rules easily. They are stimulus hungry so have been linked with thrill enhancing behaviours.

Give 3 evaluation points of the 44 thieves study

-only studied boys so the research can't be applied to the behaviour of girls.


-unrepresentative as the boys were all in behavioural guidance unit so they had problems to start with and there was no control group so it can't be applied to children who are not suffering behavioural problems.


- it demonstrated the importance of the mother in childhood and the effect this can have. This made women less likely to go out to work but stay with their children at home

What are the roles of prison that Cavadino and Dignan suggested?

Deterrence, rehabilitation, incapacitation and retribution.

Name 3 evaluation points of behaviour modification in treating offenders

- tokens are given immediately after some desirable behaviour so association is created quickly.


- the control of behaviours has to be transferred from tokens to social reinforces when a person leaves prison. This is achieved through weaning patients off the tokens but there is often a relapse.


- ethical problems arise because it is necessary to deprive patients of some amenity before it can be earned with tokens. Difficult to decide if watching TV is for example a right or privilege. Sometimes people have no option to leave the programme.