This essay will cover how families become less traditional, and in turn how older styles of parental control on behaviours become weakened. How the electronic mass media such as film and television produce more and more images of crime and violence, and people find there lives more and more plausible. And finally how labour markets become more casual and insecure, and as more people enter the informal or underground economy, so people may start to look for alternative ways to survive. Crime especially in the informal economy may be one of these. These social changes will also be looked at on how they influence crime in Irealnd.
Traditional families are commonly known as a married couple with two children, but the term is also more than this. That is, belief in traditional families implies putting a high value on getting married and remaining married, opting for two-parent families over other ‘alternate lifestyles’ and taking the priority of putting your children before your job (Macionis 1999). But traditional families have decreased in the last couple of decades. Since 1960 traditional families have decreased from more than half to 27% in households and single parenting has risen from 10% to 25% of households (Popenoe 1993).
The negative effects of the cultural trend toward weaker families are seen, as children receive less attention, crime rates rise with other negative behaviours like underage drinking, smoking, and premarital sex (Popenoe 1993). As a result of the decrease in traditional families, older styles of parental control on behaviour become weakened (Macionis, 1999). This leads to anti-social behaviour and criminal acts among children and adolescents and then adults (Keijers, Loeber, Branje, Meeus, 2011).
When these youths are tempted to commit an act of crime, they do not think about their parent (s) response and are more prone to commit this criminal act compared to someone who has a healthy relationship with their parents (keijers, et. al, 2011). The role of a parent – child relationship plays a big role in the child’s behaviour (Keijers, et. al, 2011). There is evidence that bad behavioural children and teenagers have poor relationships with their parents (Dishoin, McMahon, 1998). Due to the lack of parental control in a child’s behaviour, this anti-social behaviour can lead to criminal acts an adult.
Crime rates in Ireland have more than doubled in the last forty years from 4,000 crimes a year to 10000 crimes a year (Brewer, Lockhart, Rodgers, 1996). With drugs offences being highest with 190. 2 per 10,000 people (World Development Indicators Database, 2002). Many studies have been carried out on how the violence in the media, mainly in movies and on television, cause aggressive behaviour in people (Heinz, 1983). The violence in the media also leads people to believe that it is plausible to be violent in their own lives (Rule, Ferguson, 1986). People first attend to the material, once they comprehend it; it can be stored in their memory.
By comprehending these violent images, observers make attributions and form moral evaluations both of which affect the likelihood that aggressive behaviour will occur and effect the way they think. As a result of numerous exposures to the violence, people may eventually apprehend it as an effective means of solving personal problems or social problems, and to accept violence as a way of life (Rule, Ferguson, 1986). As a result of this extended exposure to the media violence, it is crime likely that a person would commit a physically aggressive crime like aggravated assaults, kidnapping, rape, etc.
TV was first available in Ireland in 1949; the crime rates have multiplied five times that rate since then from 2,000 crimes a year to more than 10,000 crimes a year (Brewer, et. al, 1996). The reason for this surge in crime since television was brought in might be because of the violent images on television. The underground economy is “economic activity involving income that is not reported to the government as required by law” (Macionis, 1999). People participate in the underground economy from time to time on a small scale. These are for example having a family garage sale, teenage babysitting for neighbours and not reporting the income.
But what contributes more to this underground economy is criminal activity such as selling illegal drugs, loan – sharking, bribery, theft, prostitution, and illegal gambling (Macionis 1999). But the largest contributors to this underground economy are “honest” people who fail to report some of their income that was legally attained to the government. People may understate their income to the government like small business owners, self – employed people like carpenters, physicians. Waitresses may also not take into account their tips when paying tax. The “black economy”
as it is known in Ireland ranges from 3% to 10% of the GNP (€1. 2 Billion – €4. 5 billion) (Fagan, 1994) but has probably since risen. This figure is compared to the United States were the figure is around $170 billion (Super, 1995). The main underground economy activities in Ireland are tax evasion, working while receiving unemployment benefit, illegal drug selling, cigarette smuggling and fuel laundering (Fagan, 1994) (Percival, 2012). This trend in the black market does make people fell that their lives are plausible too. This increases crime in Ireland like drug dealing and cigarette smuggling.
But mostly people who evade tax would find it fairer to do so. These three social changes have had negative impacts on Ireland. They have caused more criminal activity in Ireland than before they were present. This criminal activity has caused many problems for the Irish government because they have had to pay out more for prisons, Gardai, and unemployment benefit. They have also caused social problems within Ireland like fear that people have of drug dealers, the decrease of the traditional family and how children in future generations may be affected by this. Refrences:
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doi:10. 1023/A:1021800432380 Donnerstein, E; Linz, D; 1995, Crime, Institute for contemporary studies press, San Francisco, CA (1995), pp. 237-266 http://www. sciencedirect. com. libgate. library. nuigalway. ie/science/article/pii /S13591789030855 Fagan, G. P. 1994, “Measuring the size of Ireland Black economy”, Journal of the statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland, 27 (1) http://www. slideshare. net/s. coffey/the-black-economy-in-ireland#btnNext Heinz, J. (1983). National leadership for children’s television. American Psycholigist, 38. 817-820.