Crime is being committed every second of each day around the world. Citizens of certain communities view crime as unwanted and causes of unnecessary stressors, although citizens from the lower class society view crime as a normal standard for everyday life. Certain crimes across the United States can be directly associated with gender, ethnicity. For instance, woman shoplift more than a man, and men conduct more violent offenses such as murder, armed robbery, and assault are associated with gender specific.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations implemented a country wide database known as the Uniform Crime Report, which compiles statistics of criminal offenses from 18,000 thousand agencies that record and report crime data to the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The Uniform Crime Report is an essential tool for compare and contrasting the crimes across the nation and various components of crime causation. This paper will cover the various crime rates of Los Angeles, California, and Phoenix, Arizona, while employing the most recent statistics derived from the Uniform Crime Report.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports on numerous crimes that have been committed in different areas, and while emphasizing violent crimes. Violent crimes include acts as robbery, murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault, and non-negligent manslaughter. In Los Angeles, California, has approximately 3,837,207 people as of 2011, and Phoenix, Arizona, has a population of 1,466,097 in 2011, which indicates the population size is quite different. The obvious hypothesis is that Los Angeles posses two times the amount of population than that of Phoenix. The crime comparison data clearly illustrates per one hundred thousand people residing in Los Angeles, California, committed 20045 violent crimes than that reported crime in Phoenix, Arizona, which 8089 violent crimes in 2011.
In 2011, Los Angeles had reported 11956 more violent crimes than those compared to Phoenix. In 2011, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Los Angeles population commits 5.22% of violent crimes per 1,000 residents with a violent crime rate amount 20045 occurrences, whereas Phoenix has an estimated population of 5.52% of 1,000 residents has commit violent crimes with the occurrence of 8089 (Herald Review, 2013). This signifies that Los Angeles has almost double the amount of individuals with a proportion of 2:1, which means that for every one individual residing in Phoenix, Arizona, there are two people in Los Angeles, California. The crime data indicates that Los Angeles has 44% less dangerous to live oppose to Phoenix.
The crime data for Phoenix indicates that residents are 15.8% to get robbed, 2.2 % more likely to get murdered. Despite the number of citizens reported, the amount of crime committed has far greater ratio than that of Los Angeles (Herald Review, 2013). According to the data retrieved from the Uniform Crime Report Los Angeles ranked 95 out of 459 cities throughout California for violent crimes, and Phoenix was ranked number 16 out of 67 cities for violent crimes. Los Angeles has 3.07% of violent crimes when compared to Phoenix, which has 4.64% violent crimes. Phoenix has 0.55% crime and 0.63% for Los Angeles. Los Angeles has the larger percentage because the population is larger.
Although the crime rates for Los Angeles, and Phoenix did change between the years of 2011 and 2012, there was a huge change in crime rates. Even though the rates of violent crimes have decreased by 1498 in Los Angeles, California, some crime rates have increased by 1345 in Phoenix, Arizona, although other crimes decreased.
A number of factors take place regarding incidents of crimes and why they may have been committed that may explain the difference between the two. According to Schmalleger, hard determinism would be an acceptable understanding of crime causation (Schmalleger, 2013, p. 62). To understand the factors of crime causation theories, theories of crime must be examined because there is more than one factor present when an individual commits a crime. These theories include learning theory, labeling theory, social disorganization, trait theory, social conflict, choice theory, and life course theory.
The social process theories, which include the labeling theory and learning theory, take into thought that criminal behaviors in people are foreseeable based on the interaction with her or his environment. The learning theory is based on the main idea that one must be taught both the emotional and practical skills that an individual will need to commit a crime. These skills are characteristically “taught” by a friend or family member who shows criminal behaviors them self. The labeling theory is founded on the idea that society creates criminals and crime by placing labels on people who show deviancy. These labels may result in excluded from society and eventually could result in an individual to adopt the characteristics of that label (Gaines & Miller, 2006).
The social disorganization theory is founded on the idea that criminal behavior is more likely to occur in areas where social organizations such as schools, family, and the justice system fail to apply control over the community. This means that if the laws, guidelines, and rules of the community or society are not being enforced, criminal activity is more likely to be higher in those communities than those who do enforce the laws (Gaines & Miller, 2006).
The trait theory is founded on the belief that psychological and biochemical conditions play a major role in one committing a criminal act. If one has a psychological disorder or a hormonal imbalance, there may be an increased chance that the individual is vulnerable to giving into criminal urges. The choice theory is based on the belief that before one commits a criminal act, that individual weighs the possible benefits versus the costs of committing a crime. If that individual believes they have a greater chance of benefitting from that crime, she or he is most likely going to proceed with that crime (Gaines & Miller, 2006).
According to Gaines and Miller, the life course theory is based on the thought that conduct problems such as stealing, lying, and bullying seen in childhood are strong indicators of someone showing future criminal behavior. The social conflict theory states that criminal behavior is founded on the conflict with a ruling social class labeling specific behaviors as illegal because of a social or an economic interest in protecting that community’s status quo.
This is based on the belief that instead of laws showing the values of an entire society, the laws only exhibit the values of the few in society that hold power, and has no oppositions in using the justice system as a means of ensuring that power is kept. If behaviors, such as these are not corrected later in one’s life with improvements such as jobs and positive relationships, wrongful acts of behavior will continue to exist, possibly leading to future criminal activity (2006).
The life course theory could explain the differences of criminal activity between Los Angeles and Phoenix as well as the social process theory. The social process theory governs the labeling theory, and learning theory. The development of criminal behavior can be tribute to the environmental conditions. In many cases investigating crime indicate that each crime is different, also the factors contributing to a certain crime can differ. The commonality between the two crime riddled metropolitan areas are the environmental conditions that enhance criminal behavior. In the end crime causation can be linked to several theories but unless mentally unstable should be able to tell right from wrong.
Gaines, L. K. & Miller, R. L. (2006). Criminal Justice in Action: The Core. Retrieved from:
Schmalleger, F. (2012). Criminology today: An integrative introduction. (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, p.62. The Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2013). A Word about UCR Data. Retrieved from: