By John J Tierney
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Extra info for Key perspectives in criminology
These data were then used to determine delinquency rates in different parts of the city. Note that ‘delinquency rates’ were based upon where a known offender resided, rather than on the location of the offence. Their conclusion was that, while there was some variation within specific zones, delinquency rates were highest in the inner city/zone of transition, and that the further away an area was from the inner city, the lower the rate. The spatial distribution of delinquency rates, they discovered, had conformed to this basic pattern for 40 years.
The use of aggregated data leads to what critics call the ‘ecological fallacy’. This, the argument runs, is because of an erroneous assumption that the actions of the individual (in this case of a criminal nature) can be explained by statistical data pertaining to groups of people. A second set of criticisms relate to the types of crime data collected by the Chicago School, and the types of people identified as the source of the ‘crime problem’. uk McGraw Hill - 170mm x 240mm - Fonts: Stone Sans & Stone Serif JOBNAME: McGraw−Tierney PAGE: 8 SESS: 11 OUTPUT: Tue Feb 17 11:20:37 2009 SUM: 4D4B5BF4 /production/mcgraw−hill/booksxml/tierney/chap04 CHICAGO SCHOOL 39 statistics (from police or court records), and (in addition to the issue of accuracy) these would over-represent ‘conventional’ crime, such as street robbery, theft, burglary and criminal damage, while at the same time under-representing white-collar and corporate crime.
These activities included murder, protection rackets, smuggling and illegal drinking establishments known as speakeasies (by 1930 Al Capone controlled all of the 10,000 speakeasies in Chicago). However, these criminal networks stretched well beyond the ‘underworld’. Bribery and corruption drew police officers, politicians, business leaders and other ‘respectable’ members of society into the highly lucrative world of ‘organized’ crime. As the Commissioner of Prohibition, then based in Chicago, noted: … the fruitless efforts at enforcement are creating public disregard not only for this law but for all laws.
Key perspectives in criminology by John J Tierney