Learning Objectives

As a result of reading this chapter, you will be able to

  • Explain the importance of criminology and how research contributes to public policy
  • Distinguish between the classical and positivist schools of criminology and their explanations for criminality
  • Explain how biological and physical traits have been used to explain criminality
  • Describe how social structures in society— characteristics of urban environments and access to legitimate opportunities—create conditions conducive to crime
  • Distinguish between three types of theories—learning, control, and labeling—that represent social process explanations of crime
  • Explain why social conflict theorists believe that crime is a product of powerful groups who dominate less powerful groups to protect their interests
  • Summarize the assumptions of feminist theories and how rates of female offending have changed over time
  • Describe environmental criminology theories that explain why crime occurs
  • Explain the three primary methods for measuring crime and advantages and disadvantages of each