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Motivations of Street Culture and Criminal Behavior

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Motivations of Street Culture and Criminal Behavior

Landon Rasnick

Eastern Kentucky University

        Street culture goes hand in hand with the numerous criminal behaviors that flood the streets in the United States. Motivation is arguably the most assumed constants that’s associated with criminal behavior. It’s clear that crimes are committed because there is motivation involved, rather than the lack of it. Through countless years of research, the motivations of criminal behavior can result from anomie, blocked opportunities, deviant self-identity, status frustration, weak social bonds, low self-control, social disorganization, structural oppression, unemployment, age, gender, class, race, deviant peer relations, marital status, body type, etc (Jacobs & Wright). The following paper will reveal the roles of motivation that goes along with the crimes that are committed. 

        In a research conducted by Jacobs & Wright, (1999) there is multiple interviews involving 86 active robbers recruited from the streets of St. Louis, Missouri. The ages of the robbers ranged from 16 to 51 and varied from multiple races. Going into detail, all but three were African American. All of the respondents had previously taken part in armed robberies, including several strong harmful attacks. The robbers conducted within the research didn’t offend at equal rates. The defined active level within the studied individuals ranged from committed crimes within the past month to being regarded as active from other offenders. 61 of the offenders admitted to committing over 10 robberies throughout their lifetime. In depth of the group, 31 of the offenders have estimated of committing over 50 robberies in their lifetime. 73 of the original 86 robbers concluded that they robbed individuals in public settings, opposed to the ten who admitted to having robbed their individuals in a targeted setting. Three of the remaining offenders stated they equally robbed persons revolving around both of the areas previously talked about. The research also shows the multiple flaws that are shown within the conducted research. As Jacobs and Wright put it, “How could we know they were giving us a straight story?” (153). Going into detail, it isn’t necessarily in the robber’s best discretion to give entailed details about his or her life. Other questions arise when looking at the causes of the robberies that took place, such as the specific reasons why one would rob another. 81 of the offenders admitted that the motivation of the robbery consisted of simply needing money. Many of the offenders balanced from multiple financial crisis leading to the frequency of committing robberies. One of the offenders stated within the article, “I commit a robbery every few months. There’s no set pattern but it’s just based on the need” (154). Out of the 59 robbers who spoke about their particular use in the proceeds of their crime, 19 claimed they needed the cash for basic living necessities. Almost all of the robbers have a sense of similarity when explaining the way of life when living within the street life. The majority of the offenders didn’t have a set home, roaming from different addresses throughout extended periods of time.  When addressing the youth life of the offenders being researched, it’s a shady subject to address. The youth of a troubled individual is almost always related to their childhood lifestyle. The lifestyle developed at a young age will continue with the man or woman their whole life.    The article addresses the troubled youth of the offenders and the negligence they encountered. Jacobs and Wright state, “They were badly mannered and poorly schooled in the arts of impression management and customer relations” (159). Even if the offenders were able to land a high paying job, it’s unlikely they would be able to keep it long due to the lifestyle the offenders are accustomed to since their adolescent life. The temptations that interfere within an offenders’ lifestyle is likely to overwhelm their rational choices when dealing with their everyday lifestyle. 

        An article addressing the street culture of male youths in the UK puts into perspective the same types of problems that can be seen on an everyday basis (Pavis and Cunningham). The amount of leisure time within the streets can ultimately lead to problems such as underage drinking, vandalism, and drug-use. The media involved within the everyday activities of the youth can lead to trouble beginnings for the adolescents. The media is also a big factor in the United States with the negativity that can lead to negative thoughts within children. Just look who kids idealize during this day and age, it’s almost always a person who has a troubled nature and a negative outlook.  The aim of the research conducted is to move beyond previous research of the risk factors and provide an understanding of the roles that drugs and alcohol play within a trouble youth and the street culture. 



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