Crime and Deviance
Sharyn L. Roach Anleu
The topics of crime and deviance have always been a staple of Australian sociology. At the outset, crime, deviance and delinquency tended to be treated synonymously, as was the case in all national sociologies. Now there is more diversification with the emergence of criminology and continuing research on deviance, and since the 1980s the allied field of the sociology of law has developed (Hunt and Wickham 1994; Roach Anleu 2000). This chapter canvasses theoretical work and research undertaken in the study of crime and deviance. It concludes by addressing the current supposed crisis in the sociology of crime and deviance.
In discussions of crime there are new emphases on rational choice theory and opportunism. Situational crime prevention is an important perspective in contemporary discussions of crime control, and policy-makers, in Australia as elsewhere, have adopted crime-prevention programs with alacrity (O'Malley 1992; O'Malley and Sutton 1997; Sutton 1994).Advocates conceptualise criminal activity as the outcome of rational decision-making in the context of perceived available opportunities and the lack of adequate social control (Clarke 1992). Accordingly, a strategy to prevent or manage crime must modify the spatial, temporal, social and physical opportunities, thereby indirectly affecting criminal behaviour. Situational crime-prevention techniques involve increasing the potential offender's effort, increasing the risks and reducing the rewards of criminal activity. Crime-prevention initiatives on Melbourne's high-density, high-rise publichousing estates, for example, included the installation of high-tech entry and surveillance equipment; increasing lighting; upgrading of shared amenities; and the introduction of community guardian services (James 1997:48–52).
Crime prevention also entails attention to geographic and spatial locations – 'hot spots' – where crimes are likely to occur; for example, some neighbourhoods, specific kinds of buildings or sites, and such public spaces as parks or beach foreshores, shopping malls, public transport systems and central business districts (White and Sutton 1995:82–5). Those same locations or situations are also the sites of conformity: the