Social Control and Deviance

Deviance Writing Assignment

PLEASE NOTE: The images are located in this module and also linked from this assignment.

Write out your answers to the questions below and submit it using the course Dropbox. Be sure to show data obtained where appropriate.

Please relate theories and concepts from the text to the material in this assignment. Show me how well you understand the reading. Do not simply give your opinions on the results.

The textbook and the power points gave you a number of statistics about various crimes. In this project, you will use several different data sets to look at crime and its relationship to various social and economic conditions in the United States.

If you want the original data set, use this website: 

Part I:

Question 1:

Before you begin, make a quick list of the states that you think would have the highest rates of crime.

In the first part of this data exercise you will be using data on property crime rates by state. Look at the map below which shows property crime rates by state. A lower crime rate means fewer crimes per 100000 people in that state. Then look up your own state. Remember, RATES means the number per 100,000 population, not the number of crimes. You would expect a larger number of crimes in states with more people, which is why “rate” controls for the size of the population. What are your results? Did any state on your list match the states that have the highest/lowest rates of crime? How well did you predict your own state?

Property Crime Rates 2018.png

Alaska and Hawaii are not shown on this map – both are shaded purple also.

Part II:

There have been various theories on crime, the most influential of which are discussed in the power point slides and in the text. While it would be difficult to fully explore each theory in a short assignment such as this, let’s look at some factors that have been explored in relation to the theories. As such for the next question, you will look at education, poverty and employment rates (three factors that might indicate the presence or absence of “blocked opportunities” discussed in the Strain Theory), incarceration rates (deterrence theory) and religion (Control Theory). You may use the maps I have included or follow these links directly to get the information.


Map of percentage of population 25 and older with bachelor's degree or higher; from Census Bureau


Poverty rate.png


map unemployment rate.png


Incarceration rates by state for 2019


Religiousity rates by state, 2016

QUESTION TWO: What do you find? Use EACH ONE of the variables above (education, poverty, unemployment, incarceration, religiousity). Do these results support or refute any theory(ies) from our text – if so, which one(s) and how? How is education related to crime rates? Poverty? etc. If, for example, you think blocked opportunities has something to do with a higher crime rate then you should show how that state has a higher rate of both crime and “blocked opportunities” and identify some of those blocked opportunities or low rates of crime and many opportunities.

QUESTION THREEBased on these admittedly rudimentary measures of various theories, what would be the best way to reduce crime? Which theory would you agree with the most, based on the results of this assignment? Is there any theory that is not supported by these statistics? Hint: make sure your results make your answer. If, for example, you think a theory is supported make sure that the variables match the states with high/low rates of crime.

This assignment is designed to measure student’s ability to

*demonstrate their ability to think sociologically, emphasizing the importance of social forces in shaping the life course of the individual and the structure and processes of the larger society as a whole

*critically compare and contrast the assumptions, questions and interpretations of the major theoretical paradigms (structural functionalism, social conflict and symbolic interactionism) in sociology, and recognize in general that there are many perspectives on any given issue

*use a sociological perspective to define and explain the meaning and implications of key sociological concepts for the scientific study of human society

*describe how demographic and other social changes affect social structures and processes

*assess what social forces and organizational structures are most prominent in shaping, guiding and influencing individual and group behavior in contemporary society