Current events: Stealing financial information

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Financial fraud is a crime in corporate finance that involves overtating income, assets, and profits. It also understates financial liability and loss. In simpler terms, a financial statement fraud is intentionally misrepresenting financial information. It is done by intentionally removing or adding data in a financial statement. The sole aim of this type of fraud is to deceive shareholders, investors and other users of financial statements. In business circles, a common lingo for financial fraud is “cooking the books”. However, it is not intended to remain a secret for long. It gives the perpetrators more time to escape after the deed is done. An increase in the rates of crimes in the United States is a current significant sociological event. The event has been widely broadcasted in contemporary media houses in the US. The event of increased crimes in the US has great relevance to the sociological study as it is through crimes that the sense of unity in the population is disrupted. Besides, crime leads to the breakdown of the existing social associations due to the regular avoidance of particular places that are considered dangerous. In addition, crime has been reported to cause an unwillingness to go out at night, hence damaging the image of the society. In the US, the social deviance involving crimes is considered serious and it has even caught the attention of President Donald Trump. As reported in the CNN Politics¸ President Trump acknowledged the rising rates of crime in American cities, and as he stated, the overall rate of murder in the 30 largest cities in US in the year 2016 had increased by ‘double digits’ (Diamond & Landers, 2017).

Description of the Current Crime Rates in the United States

The annual crime report released by the FBI, and reported on its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program revealed that the rates of crime in the United States have increased significantly. Diamond and Landers (2017) further reports that the US President claimed that over 4,000 individuals were shot in the year 2016 in Chicago alone. Besides, the President claimed that the American population has allowed many young lives to be claimed, and the facts are conspicuous for everyone to see. The claims by President Trump were considered factual and the statistics are true according to the FBI’s annual report and the Brennan Center for Justice (Sanburn, 2016). According to a study by Brennan Center for Justice (New York), the murder rates in the year 2016 for the 30 largest cities in the US had increased by 14% from 2015, while the crime rates increased by 3.3% (Sanburn, 2016). Therefore, the report indicates that even though the crime rates in the country still hold low records, the rates of murder had considerably risen.

The two large cities leading to the spike in violent crime in the US are Charlotte and Chicago. According to the Brennan Center for Justice Report, Chicago saw the highest rate of violent crime as it stood at 17.7%, with the city accounting for about 44% of the overall rise in murders in the country (Sanburn, 2016). Charlotte on the other side has been through high numbers of murders that are related to drug use and trafficking. Besides, there are high rates of homicides that are linked to domestic violence, with the rates of violent crimes expected to spike to a 13.4% increase in months to come (Sanburn, 2016). The increased rates of murder pose a national tragedy that requires national attention. As cited by President Trump, the murder rates are worrying as 60% of the victims are under the age of 22, and are African American (Diamond & Landers, 2017). As reported by Sanburn (2016) in the Time US, eight of the 30 largest cities in the US portrayed an increase in the crime rates from the year 2015. Besides, 13 cities, with inclusion of Houston, San Antonio, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, showed a rise in their rates of violent crimes, while other 21 cities were predicted to have spikes in the ir rates of murder (Sanburn, 2016).

Analysis of the Current Event

Any act of crime begins with deviance, which according to the early American sociologist William Graham Sumner, refers to a violation of the established contextual, social, or cultural norms that could either be mores, codified laws, or even folkways (Hagan, 2011, p. 6). The sociologist had identified the three types of norms, and further claimed that they reflect the value of a particular way of life, and some norms are considered more important than others in a society. Folkways are considered the least serious norms, and they refer to daily cultural customs that relate to practical matters such as how to behave, the right etiquette, how to greet politely greet someone and also the appropriate style of dressing (Hagan, 2011). Mores, on the other hand, are more serious moral taboos that are widely understood in the society, for instance, incest taboo. Lastly, codified laws are formal control modes and are codified rules of behavior. Therefore, with a full knowledge of the concept of deviance, it becomes easy to understand the multi-facets of crime. A crime refers to an act of deviance that not only breaks the norm, but also interferes with the law (Hagan, 2011). Deviance is a broader term that encompasses minor misdemeanors such as picking one’s nose in public to more serious or major activities like committing violent crime or murder. Therefore, the cases of violent crime and increased rates of homicides that related to domestic violence in such cities as Chicago and Charlotte are sociological issues as they are part of serious crimes in the society.

The other sociological concept related to crime is social stratification. Social stratification entails the organization of the society into social classes or hierarchies, for instance, the upper, middle as well as lower class. The concept of stratification is based on the entire society as opposed to dealing with specific individuals within the society. The immediate effect of crime is usually felt by the individual directly affected by the crime, but later, the entire community becomes affected by the criminal activities. Karl Marx’s idea of the negative impacts of capitalism is hugely applied in the field of criminology and social control. Marx believed that capitalism is similar to other previous socioeconomic systems, hence it was expected that the system would lead to internal tensions, hence its own destruction. Marx proposed a radical change that advocated for a proletarian revolution that had to free themselves from the ruling class. The class structure of the capitalist system of production is based on high tensions and conflict between two major classes namely, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie are the capitalists who own the firms and other means of production whereas the proletariat are the providers of cheap labor in order to make ends meet. Therefore, individuals in the middle and lower social class strive to attain their freedom from the capitalists, and in so doing most turn to crime.

There is also an association between social stratification and class inequalities in prisons. As explained by Western and Pettit (2010), there is evidence of class inequalities in incarceration due to the very low levels of education for those in jail and prison. Besides, there are disparities of gender, race, age, and class that have produced high rates of incarceration among young African-American individuals who have minimum schooling levels (Western & Pettit, 2010). The disparity is considerably high as Western and Pettit (2010) explains that there have been high numbers of African Americans who have completed high school, but are in jail, stating that about one in ten of those individuals ar in prison or jail.

As described in most criminological theories, there are attributes in the lifestyle of lower-social members of the society that makes links them to crime. Social disorganization, therefore, is the root cause of deviancy and crime, particularly for the minority youth. The same concept applies to the increased rates of crime and murders in the 30 largest cities in the US. For instance, 60 percent of the victims of murder in US large cities in the year 2016 were below 22 years old, and were African-American (Diamond & Landers, 2017). As further explained by Hagan (2011), inner city kids and teenagers have high chances of being involved in crime, and further tend to lead a criminal lifestyle as compared to their counterpart teenagers living in the surburbs. Since individuals living in surburbs are wealthy and thus afford to live in considerably better parts of the city, their kids have better opportunities such as education and lifestyle, hence makes them less or even not involved in crime and criminal activities.

With the high rates of both murder and violent crimes in the United States, there is the need for implementation of social control measures. According to Hagan (2011), all societies practice social control to ensure regulation and enforcement of the set norms and laws. Social control can best be described as any organized action with the intention of changing people’s behavior (Innes, 2003). The primary aim of social control is to maintain social order, which is an arrangement of behaviors and practices on which members of the society base their lives (Innes, 2003). A significant way of enforcing rules is through issuance of sanctions that could either be positive or negative. Positve sanctions are rewards awarded to an individual who conforms to the set societal norms, while negative sanctions acts as punishments administered to members of the society who violate norms (Innes, 2003). As claimed by the US President, Donald Trump, without giving reliable evidence, the increased crimes in the country are as a result of undocumented immigrant gang members (Diamond & Landers, 2017). In any society, it is prudent to search for the actual cause of violence, hence act accordingly when practicing social control. The President also stated that as a means of penal social control would be practiced in the fight against drug cartels in efforts to liberate the American society from the violent activities of the criminal groups (Diamond & Landers, 2017). With the high rates of murder and violence in the 30 large cities of the United States, there is the need to use disciplinary social control to prevent further destruction of the society. With the right form of social control, the society will be constructed to operate according to the set norms and laws, hence ensuring the security of all individuals.

References

Diamond, J., & Landers, E. (2017). Trump correctly cites rising crime rates in cities. Retrieved February 18, 2017, from CNNPolitics: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/08/politics/donald-trump-murder-rate-cities/

Hagan, F. E. (2011). Introduction to criminology : theories, methods, and criminal behavior. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

Innes, M. (2003). Understanding Social Control: Deviance, Crime and Social Order. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press.

Sanburn, J. (2016). Murders Up in U.S. Cities–But Crime Rate Still Near Record Lows. Retrieved February 18, 2017, from Time US: http://time.com/4607059/murder-rate-increase-us-cities-2016/

Western, B., & Pettit, B. (2010). On Mass Incarceration: Incarceration & social inequality. American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1-6.

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