Everybody Does It!

Everybody Does It!: Crime by the Public

THOMAS GABOR
Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 378
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442674691
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  • Book Info
    Everybody Does It!
    Book Description:

    Gabor's analysis probes the whys and wherefores of crime, and reveals why some people are labeled and processed as criminals while others are not. Case studies raise crucial questions about law enforcement.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7469-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xvi)
  4. Part I Crime by the Public:: The Issue in Context

    • 1 Introduction
      (pp. 3-22)

      An armed man enters a restaurant and begins indiscriminately to massacre its patrons. A nurse, returning to her car following an evening shift, has her worst nightmare realized: as she gets into her car and closes the door, a man who had been hiding, crouched down, in the back seat holds a knife to her throat, commandeers the vehicle to a secluded spot, and rapes her and dumps her at the side of the road. An elderly couple taking an evening stroll is taunted and then robbed and beaten by a group of young thugs seeking a few kicks; the...

    • 2 ‘Pictures in Our Heads’: Our Stereotypes of the Criminal
      (pp. 23-50)

      Can you spot the armed robbers in figure 1? I presented the photographs to the students enrolled in my graduate seminar and asked each of them to select the two men they thought weremostlikely to have been involved in an armed robbery.* Then I asked them to indicate which two wereleastlikely to have participated in an armed hold-up. So as not to introduce the possibility of racial or sex-based stereotyping, all the subjects presented were white males.

      In reality, these six photographs were drawn from a large pool of photos that accompanied a feature article on...

    • 3 Is Everyone Doing It? The Extent of the Public’s Criminality and Dishonesty
      (pp. 51-70)

      In his bookCriminal Violence,Criminal Justice, Charles Silberman argues that crime and violence are ‘as American as Jesse James.’¹ He shows that, from the frontier days to the present, violence, theft, and fraud have been endemic to U.S. society. In the continent that had been conquered by the musket, violence, as well as other forms of lawlessness, show few signs of abating.

      Silberman offers a clue as to why criminality may be widespread and not simply a preoccupation of a relatively small number of repeat offenders or recidivists:

      A society that believes winning is the only thing is likely...

  5. Part II The Crimes Committed by ‘Law-Abiding’ Citizens

    • 4 ‘The Root of All Evil’: Property Crime
      (pp. 73-97)

      Perhaps the most common category of crime is that involving the unlawful acquisition of another’s property through theft or deception. Theft by non-professionals can be committed by individuals or can take place within small networks in which individuals illegally exchange goods and services. This latter type of theft is discussed below, under the heading ‘Hidden Economies.’ The use of deception or fraud to acquire money or property illicitly, or to avoid paying taxes, is also dealt with below. First, let us look at common larceny or theft in general.

      The most common form of property crime is theft. Consider some...

    • 5 ‘Flesh and Blood So Cheap’: Violent and Sex Crimes
      (pp. 98-115)

      For many people, violent crime is associated with strangers attacking helpless victims, without warning, on dark city streets. In reality, this type of attack accounts for a very small percentage of all violent incidents. Many violent crimes take place among people who know each other, although this situation is more prevalent in some countries than others. The United States, for example, has a greater problem with stranger-to-stranger violence than do other Western countries, such as Canada and the Western European nations. However, even in the United States a large proportion of violent crimes are committed by and against family, friends,...

    • 6 ‘There Is Nothing Wrong with Greed’: Corporate Crime
      (pp. 116-133)

      Speaking to graduating students at the University of California, Ivan Boesky, the Wall Street financier who earned tens of millions of dollars illegally after receiving ‘insider’ tips about corporate takeovers, said the following: ‘Greed is all right, by the way. I want you to know that. I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.’¹

      Rather than being an aberration, this attitude reflects business ethics and practices throughout North American history. Many great fortunes were amassed by illicit or unscrupulous means. Corporate misbehaviour in relation to both employees and consumers, as well as the...

    • 7 ‘What’s Good for the Goose ...’: Crime by Society’s Leaders and Law Enforcers
      (pp. 134-151)

      Among the most harmful crimes to society are those committed by people held in high esteem by the public, whether these are political, corporate, or religious leaders, or television personalities. The misbehaviour of such individuals is highly visible, and because they are often adopted as role models, their fall from grace leads to a general disillusionment with the values of honesty and good citizenship. When the rich and powerful lie, cheat, and steal, those with lower social status can hardly be expected to maintain high ethical standards.

      Although the media today are perhaps more vigilant in bringing to light political...

    • 8 Other Crimes
      (pp. 152-164)

      The general public is actively involved in a number of other forms of criminal activity, ranging from illicit-drug use to technological crimes. This chapter provides only a sample of these offences.

      The use of illicit drugs, underage drinking, and alcohol abuse are all widespread in our society. Speaker after speaker at crime conferences I have attended have underscored the rampant abuse of illicit drugs and alcohol. Not only is the use of certain substances a crime in itself, but it has an undeniable connection with various forms of crimes. Alcohol is involved in many violent crimes (including domestic violence) as...

  6. Part III Explaining the Transgressions of the Public

    • 9 ‘Everybody Does It’: Rationalizations, Justifications, and Excuses for Criminal Behaviour
      (pp. 167-194)

      Those working with convicted criminals have noted the all-too-common propensity of offenders to blame everybody but themselves for their actions. Clinical workers often complain that their clients not only fool others to obtain various advantages (e.g., a reduced sentence or an early parole) but also are remarkably adept at convincing themselves they have done nothing wrong. Thus, they frequently present themselves as the victims of circumstances or of an unjust legal system. This way of thinking, of course, offers a profound challenge to those hoping to assist habitual lawbreakers mend their ways, as presumably the first step in dealing with...

    • 10 ‘Our Brother’s Keeper?’ The Commitment of the Public to Society’s Rules
      (pp. 195-210)

      It is often assumed that the general public firmly subscribes to society’s rules. It is believed that most people not only conform to these rules in their behaviour but believe in them as well, having internalized their inherent values during their development. Only a small fraction of the population is considered to be antagonistic towards the laws we are said to cherish.

      One might be inclined to attribute the widespread involvement in criminal activity to momentary lapses on the part of people otherwise engaged in lawful activity. Thus, from time to time, even law-abiding citizens seize an opportunity to meet...

    • 11 Understanding the Widespread Criminality of the Public
      (pp. 211-251)

      The efforts to explain human criminality have been long-standing. In the Middle Ages, those violating the moral codes of European countries were often considered to be possessed by demons. A century ago, the first scientific studies were being conducted in criminology. Many of these initial studies supported the idea that criminals were constitutionally inferior beings or mental defectives. Early research also focused on the psychopathology of the offender, and this position remains part of the contemporary criminological landscape. In the past fifty or sixty years, criminologists increasingly have emphasized the environment of the offender: the family environment, the peer group,...

    • 12 Predicting the Prevalence of Different Crimes in Society
      (pp. 252-284)

      In chapter 11, I explained why it was that lawbreaking was so widespread. In this chapter, I will show how a society can predict the prevalence or extent of participation in any crime, at a given time. Thus, the predictive model or system I will present can tell us what proportion of the population will engage in homicide, employee theft, tax evasion, computer crimes, and other crimes. Attempts have been made to forecast rates of crime, but that is very different from predicting the proportion of the population engaging in various offences. We may know that 1,000 burglaries have taken...

  7. Part IV Dealing with Widespread Criminality

    • 13 ‘The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison’: Why Most ‘Respectable’ Lawbreakers Avoid Prosecution
      (pp. 287-305)

      After examining the evidence presented in this book, one might reasonably ask why it is that only a fraction of the population gets into trouble with the law if virtually everyone is violating it. First of all, although it is true that only a minority of people are subjected to criminal proceedings, this minority is not negligible. In Canada, for example, as we said in chapter 3, close to 10 per cent of the population has a criminal record. Evidence presented in that chapter also showed that males currently growing up in the United States and England have about a...

    • 14 Dealing with Crime by the Public
      (pp. 306-338)

      This book does not present a neat and simplified view of crime as an undertaking of isolated individuals at the fringes of society. Conservative-thinking people have seen the criminal as a degenerate of some sort-the product of heredity (a ‘bad seed’), of a family failing to instil discipline, or of an inferior social group. Liberal-minded individuals have taken a more compassionate stance towards the criminal, seeing him or her as coming from an economically deprived background, a broken home, or persecuted minority group.

      Yet both these perspectives of crime, as divergent as they may be, share the assumption that participation...

  8. Notes
    (pp. 339-369)
  9. Photo Credits
    (pp. 370-370)
  10. Index
    (pp. 371-378)