Concerning shoplifting, Katz noted that shoplifters are seduced by object that catches their eyes. He pointed out that, “objects in the store have an almost mystical attraction, which the right object must almost beg to be stolen” (Katz). Thus, they are seduced by objects to steal not realizing that he will end up caught stealing. Katz emphasized that what has been the motives is not necessarily the amount of what was stolen but the thrill of fooling the clerks and detectives and eventually “overcome their freight and successfully pulled off a deviant act while pretending to be “normal.
” Katz said that the psychological boost the accomplishment brings is what could be prize, for according to Katz, “often the object is discarded or given away. ” On this theory about robbery, Katz mentioned that it is almost exclusively a male crime. He identified robbers to be threatening and quite serious in their request for valuables. He did not mean to commit violence but he is ready to resort to violent action if necessary. Katz said, this is the “moral philosophy of the hard man,” his commitment is that his will, once communicated to the victim, must prevail, regardless of practical calculations of personal danger to himself.
According to Katz, the demographic factors that many persistent robbers share: this include “being unmarried with few obligations, being unemployed either steadily for a long periods of time, the use of hard drugs. Katz sees this crime not just as direct result of economic difficulty but rather, as “part of an overall pattern of acceptance of a learned “transcendent” way of life (the person will succeed outside the norms laid down by society). For Katz, “robbery is part of a larger commitment to a hedonistic lifestyle that has a particular appeal to some. ”
Anderson sees the crimes committed by the inner cities gangster as related to social injustice, racial discrimination and the lack of economic opportunity. Young people are rebelling against the system of society which deprived them of basic rights and opportunities. Their behavior is rather perpetuated by their anger, frustrations, and hatred against the seemingly insensitive upper class people who generally branded them to be bad guys, criminals and notorious people. On the other hand, Katz identified these gangs as punks belonging to both middle class and lower class.
The middle-class gang “adopts the lower-class dress and behavior but deny the ties to neighborhood”; while the lower-class gang “consider themselves as elites” (Katz). Violence created by the gang members is to “demonstrate to everyone in the neighborhood their elite status” (Katz). According to Katz, “gang behavior is childlike. ” From this point of view, we can assume that gangs and violence are becoming a trend in America; the middle-class admire and imitate the actions of these lower class gang, while the latter form a gang because of economic reasons; this economic reason compels them to regain their lost pride because of discrimination.
So by means of joining a gang, they can consider themselves as elites. These concepts therefore can assume different motives behind the committed criminal acts done by these two groups. The striking between these men’s views is that both find out that crimes committed by those gangsters regardless of their intentions bring psychological fulfillment. They seem to prove that they are somebody, that they should be considered and respected. Probably they have the same goal, although the background of intention is quite is different.
Youngster in the inner cities which Anderson is concerned is characterized by discrimination, lack of well-paying jobs, and oriented in street mentality. These youngsters as Anderson pointed are victims of the systems of society and their behavior are merely reactions to what they feel towards the attitudes of the so-called decent upper classes as well as the basic intuitions that were supposed to guide them and provide role models towards changing their lives for the better. On the other hand, Katz sees the crimes of youth to be bound by their basic needs which the available option that they see is either robbery or shoplifting.
This mind set is quite narrow for it is not based on basic principles. They seem to really not being bounded by lack of opportunities but they just opted to commit such crimes of either shoplifting, robbery and to the extreme murder. Thus, the contrast is within the nature of the crimes committed. Youngsters in Anderson’s Code of the Street can be likened to political dissidents fighting for their rights to survive while in Katz’ Seduction Crime, gangsters are like terrorists who seek to find satisfaction in the crimes they have committed.
Another contrasting ideas presented in these two books is the way the author presented suggestions for the resolution of the problem. Wooster made a significant remark when he noticed how Anderson provide alternative solution, he said, “the best way to help the inner city is through small-scale, private initiatives that strengthen the hand of the old heads and the grandmothers” (Wooster). On the other hand, Jack Katz did not offer any solution for crimes in cities which is the strength of Anderson’s book. Conclusion
Anderson’s Code of the Street is really mind opening. It gives us deeper understanding of young people committing heinous crimes which sometimes beyond what can we imagine. The book also offers advice to police and the government on how to deal with these youngsters who could be merely persuaded to commit such act of violence and crimes because of certain pressures within that they themselves cannot understand. Maybe some of them are certified cold blooded criminals but even so, they are still victims of the system of society.
In many countries where there dissidents, government offers amnesty to those who will lay down their arms and will go back to the mainstreams of society minus their seditious ideology, in most cases, they were given financial assistance to start their new life. In the case of youth in the inner city communities, what they lack is good economic opportunities which, if they will be given, many of these violent gangsters might turn to be potential community leaders or a strong economic workforce. Another factor to rising numbers of gangsters is the ideology of pride in which, the more you are feared, the proud you become.
Of course, crime is crime. It should be punished. But those whose crime involvement were merely triggered by their economic difficulty and of course negative values embraced by teens in this type of community, there should be some options for them to improve their own life. Racial discrimination should be stopped and equal opportunity should be afforded to everyone regardless of his race and color. Anderson noted that even schools and authorities had abdicated responsibilities to such young people. This could only aggravate further the situation and invite others who are still decent yet has the tendency to adopt the street ethics.
Although there are quite similarity in the crimes committed against the society by these young people, it does not mean it their nature. Rather, it means that there is similarity of situation, young people against the system of society. As mentioned by Anderson, the increase of lawless young people was caused by the exodus of companies formerly based in these areas which, now transferred in some parts of the world, as well as the introduction of computers which eliminate many of the jobs so the same can be the key towards bringing back these young people in a more decent way of life.
So long as the economic deprivation, racial discrimination, and injustice continue to persist in these inner cities, black residents and young people will continue to bring havoc and pose serious threats and dangers to lives and properties of any who might cross their path. Of course violence persists also among middle-class groups, and the reason for this is not financial but rather value system which is learned away from the guidance of the parents.
Youth resistance becomes a trend among many American teenagers which has to be resolved immediately, or else, that will be too late.
Anderson, Elijah. Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (Excerpts) http://www2. wwnorton. com/catalog/fall00/codeex. htm Howell, James. “The Impact of Gangs on Communities. ” OJJDP National Youth Gang Center Bulletin http://www. iir. com/nygc/publications/NYCGbulletin_0806. pdf. Katz’ Seduction Theory (Crime Seduction) criminology.fsu.edu/