Social deviance can be described as a violation of the culture norm. Some forms of deviance can be mild while other offences are more serious. I would categorize recidivism of jailing and release as a serious form.
Robert Merton’s “strain theory” which was developed from the work of Durkheim and Merton and taken from the theory of anomie, best describes theoretical causes of social deviance. This theory has given new light to social deviance due to recent studies of criminology. “One factor that must be considered is that individuals have different reactions to certain types of strain and subjectively view different types of objective strain (Agnew, forthcoming).” In another words, people feel they have no choice or option or cave to the pure pressure and do deviant things to be accepted by others. Social deviance is not always about financial gain, however it can be.
Social Deviance and Juvenile’s form of acceptance
Social Deviance can be viewed, as a form of acceptance into society and/or a way for juvenile’s to get attention. This reminds me of a popular TV show called Simpson’s, whereby Bart, the little boy in the show, is constantly showing off to his friends by misbehaving and looking for social acceptance into society. The more he misbehaves, the more his fellow students notice him. Many juveniles who commit crimes never enter the juvenile justice system. Unfortunately, developing a portrait of juvenile law-violating behavior from official records gives only a partial showing of the whole picture.
Crime in Detroit
2004 Total Per 100,000 People Naitonal Per 100,000 People
Overall Detroit Crime Index: 2004 Total- 73328 : Per 100,000 People-8019.7 :National Per 100,000 People -3982.6
Detroit Motor Vehicle Thefts : 2004 Total0 1734: Per 100,000 People – 2687.5: National Per 100,000 People- 421.3
References: Crime data retrieved on September 12, 2006 from http://detroit.areaconnect.com/crime1.htm
As you can see from the the data above, Detroit hits almost every category of crime above the national average. Practically Detroit Motor Vehicle Thefts, Detroit is over 5 times the national average.
Juvenile and Grand Theft Auto a History Lesson
Police where the forefront of Juvenile Justice System, deciding which cases to ignore and let parents handle and which ones to bring to the court systems. Most case studies focus on the judicial system and not how the kids got involved with crime to begin with. (Wolcott, David, 2006) As we look back at history we can addresses the issues of the interactions between the policy and the youth of America. Police over a decade performed a “filtering function” to decide which complaints to handle on their own.
Michigan is seeing a Decline in Auto Theft – Represented 5.9% of the national total in 1986. For 2003, Michigan only contributed 4.3% of the national total. Table 1 indicates both Michigan and national experience with motor vehicle theft.
Motor Vehicle Theft Experience Nationally and in Michigan 1986-2003
Year No. of Thefts % Change No. of Thefts % Change
1986 1,224,137 72,021
1987 1,288,674 +5.3% 68,415 -5.0%
1989 1,564,800 +21.4% 65,297 -4.6%
1991 1,661,738 +6.2% 62,636 -4.1%
1993 1,561,047 -6.1% 56,670 -9.5%
1995 1,472,732 -5.7% 57,895 +2.2%
1997 1,353,707 -8.1% 59,826 +3.3%
1999 1,147,305 -15.2% 54,018 -9.7%
2001 1,226,457 +6.9% 52,310 -3.2%
2003 1,260,471 +2.8% 53,307 +1.9%
1986-2003 Change +3.0% -26.0%
Source: FBI and Michigan Uniform Crime Reports 1986-2003
Michigan is one of 10 states that have consistently accounted for approximately 69% of the nation’s motor vehicle thefts in America. In 1985, Michigan had the fourth highest number of motor vehicle thefts in the nation, but in 1991, Michigan dropped to seventh place on the list. For 2003, Michigan is in fifth place.
Auto Theft Prevention
The Michigan Anti-Car Theft Campaign Committee (ACT) had been developing a coalition to increase public awareness of the auto theft problem. They also have come up with possible solutions and have been sending representatives to community groups and law enforcement. In response to the public’s reaction to losing their personal means of Transportation, Michigan’s legislature developed (P.A. 10 of 1986) an Automobile Theft Prevention Authority (ATPA). The ATPA was funded by an annual one-dollar assessment on each insured non-commercial passenger vehicle, plus interest earned by investing those funds. Their programs also include auto theft awareness of the increase in insurance premiums as a result of this awareness. Non-profit groups have beenfunded to teach theft prevention techniques to residents and assist the police to identify the location of thieves or chop shops. (MAPT, 2005). The Department of State has implemented programs that have successfully closed loopholes that allow for thief’s to salvage parts and transfer vehicle titles. Automobile manufacturers have taken steps to make it harder for thief’s to salvage parts from cars. Insurance companies have developed their own special auto theft investigation units known as H.E.A.T. This allows for insurance companies to be rewarded for information, which leads to the arrest of an auto thief. New technology devices such as alarms, kill switches, electronic tracking systems and steering wheel locks also deter thieves.
Wayne County, which is the county that Detroit is located in, has a unit called the PATU known as the Prosecutor Auto Theft Unit for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. PATU consists of five prosecutors, a secretary, and one full-time legal assistant to handle most crimes related to motor vehicles including vehicle theft, chop shops, insurance fraud, and fleeing cases. PATU is partially funded by a grant from the Automobile Theft Prevention Authority. PATU works closely with auto insurance companies and police departments within Wayne County.
Once a warrant request is initiated by a police agency, a specialized PATU prosecutor oversees the case from beginning to end. Since the creation of PATU 19 years ago, auto theft related crimes in Wayne County has decreased over 30%. PATU averages 1,800 new cases per year.
Agnew, Robert. (forthcoming). An overview of general strain theory. In Poternaster Raymond (ed.). Essays in criminological theories. LA:Roxbury.
Florida State University, Criminology Dept, “Robert Agnew’s General Strain Theory” retrieved on September 5, 2006 from http://www.criminology.fsu.edu/crimtheory/agnew.htm
CTU Online Course Materials, SOC205-0603B-01, Retrieved on September 5, 2006, from https://campus.ctuonline.edu/MainFrame.aspx?ContentFrame=/Default.aspx
Area Connect, Crime Data for Detroit, retrieved on September 12, 2006 from http://detroit.areaconnect.com/crime1.htm