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The Candy Thief I don’t know if you have ever committed any of the Index Crimes


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The Candy Thief
I don’t know if you have ever committed any of the Index Crimes on which the FBI, the NCVS, and others publish annual statistics. But my guess is that everyone has done something “criminally delinquent” in past or present juvenile lives—if nothing else perhaps, than exceeding the speed limit once or twice.
Our subject confesses that as a kid (10-12 years old—doesn’t remember) he grabbed a piece of candy from behind a counter when a clerk wasn’t looking. (Didn’t get caught either!) So he committed THEFT. Why did he do it?
Classical theories would have claimed that he was a willful hedonistic sinner who knew what he was doing. Positivist biological theories would say that he was a young male mesomorph, possibly with XYY syndrome, just starting on a life of crime. Positivist psychological theorists would say that he just abused as a child, and in fact, he has a criminal personality, probably with low IQ. But what would the “Mainstream Sociological” theorists say? For one thing they’d note that he was born in Chicago, where a lot of them formulated their delinquency theories. They’d focus on how “social” factors impacted him. They’d talk urban expansion or his “subcultures” or his social relationships. They might say that he lived in a delinquent neighborhood during times of great anomie and social inequality.
Your task….in 2-3 paragraphs…is to use two (2) “Social Process Theories” to explain why he and others like him might have engaged in theft or vandalism, etc. He doesn’t recall stealing the candy more than once, and I know that he was not a member of a gang.
Focus only on the “Social Process Theories” in the text . Use any TWO (2) and explain why juveniles might regularly engage in property crime, especially theft and vandalism. Those theories won’t explain what I did in a once-in-a-lifetime-memorable lapse. But the theories do help explain why juveniles might regularly and consistently engage in juvenile delinquency levels of crime. So, piece together a plausible explanation of why my peers and I might have started down a path of crime from small things like theft or vandalism to more serious acts like assault, burglary, and robbery.
PLEASE NOTE. Whatever theories you use, you need to cite them and describe their core claims accurately. Then apply them to this kind of delinquency. Do not just say, “Our subject was a delinquent raised by delinquent parents.” You need to first say, “Theorist XYZ has a good theory for explaining his delinquency. XYZ says…. Kids who steal at young ages fit the theory because they are…..” Do a similar description and explanation piece using Theorist ABC.
Reminder: Paragraphs usually have more than 1 or 2 sentences. And, as in the school shooter profiling exercise of last week, you will be graded on your production’s descriptiveness, logic and realistic common-sense. For this exercise, however, your grade will also depend on how accurately you understand and apply the “Social Process Theories.” Do not, however, just quote from the text. I can read, too. Explain in your own words what the text’s paragraphs are saying. Simplistic quoting or paraphrasing will lower your grade.
Concentric Zone Theory:
An aside FYI: He actually lived in the northwest corner of Chicago. That area shows up on city maps drawn by the Chicago school of mainstream criminologists. For your viewing pleasure, I’ve appended below an example of a map they used for early 20th century delinquency. Recall concentric zone theory. He lived where the red dot is. It was considered an area relatively free of the many juvenile delinquents who lived in other sections of the city. Little did they know!
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