Relating Violent Crime in America to the Social Learning Criminological Theory
In criminology, there are different ways in which different individuals serve their purpose in the criminal justice system. For instance, magistrates and judges usually look at the law, facts and evidence to ensure that their decisions are in accordance to the tenets of justice. The selected occupation I have chosen is that of a law enforcement officer. The strict definition of a law enforcement officer refers to the person with the legal mandate to enforce the law for the jurisdiction they are serving (Police Executive Research Forum, 2014). For instance, a law enforcement officer may be a police officer mandated to carry out operations on drug trafficking individuals in a particular place. The role of the law enforcement officer is to therefore look at ways in which he will investigate suspects, apprehend them and prepare the necessary court documents for charging the suspect.
Definition of Theory
The theory of choice for this paper will be the social learning theory. Simply defined, the social learning theory refers to a crime trait that is learned from the criminal leaning criminal traits from the people they spend time with. The social learning theory avers that where an individual grows up in a lower socio-economic background with heightened criminal activity, then the child’s company of the adults in the area will slowly transform him into a criminal (Gagnon, 2018). For instance, a male adolescent growing up in the projects with the company of criminals may inevitably dispose him to have criminal tendencies. In addition, the lack of basic supplies may also be a motivation to the criminal tendencies the individual will be showing.
Identify Victims and Offenders affected by the concepts of the theory.
Characteristics of crime Victims
The victims are usually acquaintances of the criminal. They may be neighbors or people the criminal has spend time with who become the targets. In most instances, victims of a crime are neighbors and the people that the victim has learnt to understand to be her close associates. In the case of rape, the people that carry out the illegalities are usually the known contacts of the individual. For instance, it is important to mention that the person perpetrating the crime of rape will a work mate, an acquaintance they were drinking with or even a family member. It is therefore important to note the different character of a person in law enforcement because reports of such kind of crimes are rare and marred with secretive blackmail.
The victims are usually shocked by the sudden change of behavior in the aggressor. For instance, they may be in shock to come into terms with their neighbors robbing them.in most instances, the victims do not believe that they have been robbed by the person that robbed them or stolen from them. Due to the incapacities created by the accused person, the victim may have had the belief that the perpetrator would not harm them. However, it is noteworthy to mention that there are different ways in which the perpetrator acts that traumatizes the victim. In an incident such as rape there are various actions a law enforcement officer will be responsible for. The collection of evidence is key in building the case for the complainant and the state for the successful prosecution of the case.
The physical effects of crime on the victims are usually mild. Depending on the aggressor, they may be fatal. In the first instance, criminal attacks on the victim may happen in a variety of ways. Where the incident is a simple pickpocketing, the victim may not even realize they have been robbed. In other instances, the incidence happens where the attacker is bearing a weapon. In such a case, the injuries to the victim may be mild if the aggressor uses it as such. In the case where there is a shooting incidence, it is important to consider the facts that will involve the victim. She may be dangerously harmed. In the worst-case scenarios where, criminal gangs are fighting for territorial control, it is murder that is committed.
The effect of criminal activity on society relates to the distaste of the aggressor. The society and the community the victim lives in influences the manner in which a crime victim will respond to a matter of concern or crime committed. If the victim distastes the aggressor based on the perceptions identified by their immediate environment, the mental condition of the individual is bound to deteriorate. The importance of psychological assessment is not to be avoided.
Characteristics of offenders
Typical offender characteristics include changing from the responsible individual they once were to become the criminal they have become. In the beginning, the offender may have kept the company of responsible individuals in the society. With time, they begin associating with social misfits who influence that they run their lives. In most instances, these offenders may have come from backgrounds in which their families may have abandoned them. In social understanding of the criminal tendencies of the people close to others, the motivation may be the lack of attention and direction from people that are higher than them. In families with absentee parents, the children may elect to go out to the hoodlums to learn street skills so they can get the recognition they are seeking.
Most of the offenders in the social learning theory are male. They range from the age of adolescence to their middle ages. They are mostly drop outs although some have a good background in education. In today’s criminal research field, criminal tendencies are changing with each passing crime (Besemer, Farrington, & Bijleveld, 2017). In the past, criminal activities used o be perpetrated by school drop outs who had no means to earn a living. Today however, organized crime has different professionals involved in the running of different types of crime. Cyber crime requires a lot of skill and intelligence that will ensure the crime goes untraceable. The importance of having skilled criminals is to avoid the hands of justice. As a law enforcement officer however, the important consideration will be to look at all the characteristics of criminal activity with an open eye to avoid unconjurable events in future.
Most criminals are males. The biological contribution to the affinity to crime is not scientific. However, statistics have continuously reported that males in the adolescent to middle ages are likely to be engaged in criminal activity more than other ages would. At this age, these youth are energetic. Coupled with the lack of a stable source of income and activity to enage in, crime is usually the next alternative in line.
Research examples of the Social Learning theory
There are various studies conducted in the criminology concerning the manner in which criminal activities and perpetrators operate. In the first instance, the criminal justice system is required to enable a benchmarking strategy to ensure that all members are properly guided on the progress of the fight against crime. Ridgeway & MacDonald (2014) argues for different ways in which the police department can strategize to ensure that they are learning the various characteristics of criminal theory. Through the social learning theory, it is identified that the character traits of the environment that one grows in will automatically influence the manner in which they will relate to society. Through social learning, adolescent males to the middle ages usually learn from those above them. If they spend a lot to time with different individuals who commit crime for a living, then these adolescents are most likely to start dealing in drugs and the criminal activities that the seniors are carrying out.
Victimization is an important ideology to discuss in this section. In criminal gangs, victimization is usually used in criminal gangs to extend the loyalty and the operations of the gang (Gagnon 2018). For instance, one new member of the gang may be tired of the criminal activities that they are engaging in. in his bid to quit, one of the gang members realizes after which he informs the leader of the gang of the dire consequences of his actions once out. In the ensuing encounters, the victimization will lead the individual to commit criminal activity to save himself. In addition, such criminal activity is bound to dangerous as it involves the directions of one sadistic soul.
Rosenfeld, (2018) identified different criminal trends that must be identified to ensure that they can ably respond to the concerns of the public. The social learning theory explained states that criminals are bound to learn from the criminal tendencies of the people they are living with. In identifying the different stages of criminal activity in a certain environment, the law enforcement officer is not required to go for the obvious traits of criminal tendencies. The law enforcement officer should look at new developments in criminal activity. The manner in which cybercrime is conducted is discreet but the risks are weighty. To identify such activities, law enforcement officers need to create a plan through which they can identify the crimes before moving to solving them in the long run.
Gun violence in the United is at an all time high. There have been different cases of shooting in different states in the United States which have necessitated criminological evaluation on their occurrence and solution.
One example of a practical application of the social learning theory can be inferred from the data focusing on crime rates in lower socio-economic areas. The social learning theory proves that in a situation where the social structure does not absolutely prohibit criminal activity, then most of that society will have the criminal tendencies innate in them. In application to a law enforcement officer, the social learning theory prematurely concludes the criminal tendencies of different people as situated in a particular area. As such many innocent victims are charged with wrongful crimes and sentences. Occupational detractors include criminal attacks on officers especially in areas with inadequate security measures in place.
To overcome drawbacks, the law enforcement professional must have back up while on operations (Ridgeway & McDonald, 2014). In addition, sanitization of crime prone areas and public education is important to reduce the happenstance of criminal risks. Law enforcement officers need to look at he development of crime and how it is organized in the new digital dispensation. Law enforcement officers must be in touch with what is happening on the ground to ensure that they have all the necessary intelligence they require to carry out their job responsibilities.
I would use the social learning theory in my law enforcement career for various reasons. The reason for the application is to understand the criminal tendencies in particular areas of my jurisdiction. For instance, understanding particular crime hotspots will be instrumental in rooting out criminal characters from society into correctional facilities.
Besemer, S., Farrington, D. P., & Bijleveld, C. C. (2017). Labeling and intergenerational transmission of crime: The interaction between criminal justice intervention and a convicted parent. PloS one, 12(3), e0172419.
Gagnon, A. (2018). Extending social learning theory to explain victimization among gang and ex-gang offenders. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 0306624X18763761.
Monod, S. W. (2017). Portraying those we condemn with care: Extending the ethics of representation. Critical Criminology, 25(3), 343-356.
Police Executive Research Forum, (author.). (2014). Future trends in policing. Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, US Department of Justice.
Ridgeway, G., & MacDonald, J. M. (2014). A method for internal benchmarking of criminal justice system performance. Crime & Delinquency, 60(1), 145-162.Salisbury, E. J. (2013). Social learning and crime. The Oxford handbook of criminological theory, 116-130.
Rosenfeld, R. (2018). STUDYING CRIME TRENDS: NORMAL SCIENCE AND EXOGENOUS SHOCKS. Criminology, 56(1), 5-26.