. Crime and Violence in the United States

A. Discussion

Discuss these questions with your classmates:

• What’s happening in the first picture?

• Does the man in the second picture look like a criminal? What is a white-collar crime?

• Would you say there is more crime in the United States or in your country? Why?

Q B. Vocabulary and Key Concepts

Read through the sentences, trying to imagine which words would fit in the blanks. Then listen to a dictation of the full sentences, and write the missing words in the blanks.

1. Between 1994 and 2001,________________________________________________ crime—

homicide, rape, arson, and aggravated____________________ —

fell 52 percent.

2. At the same time, in recent years there has been stricter law

________________________ in cities like New York and Boston,

and very_________________________ penalties have been

imposed on repeat offenders.

3. Statistics are harder to come by for_________________________

________________________ crime, crimes including

________________________ and bribery.

4. One theory says that people are basically______________________

by nature and, therefore,_________________________

________________________ violence.

5. If a person commits a crime, society is________________________

____________________ because society’s______________________

are the cause of the criminal behavior.

6. There are________________________ causes like racism and

more obvious causes like the breakdown of the family and a of drugs.

7. Because they have been_________________________

________________________ the benefits that most Americans

have, criminals are alienated from society, which causes them

to——————————————————————————– at

the society.

8. The________________________ is that small part of the popula­

tion that typically fits the following profile: poor, unemployed,

badly educated,_________________________ black, inner-city

youth, some of whom belong to gangs.

9. According to the theory, society_________________________ this

aggressiveness and potential violence by______________________


10. Society gives us_________________________ against killing and

stealing, for example, and values for honesty and

11. If we are adequately socialized, we have a

________________________ , the result of values that determine

how we_________________________________________________

our children.

12. The amount of crime depends on how_______________________

is used as a_________________________ to crime—that is, how

effectively the criminal justice system functions.

13. Typically, white-collar criminals, who include some businessmen

and_____________________ , may be_______________________

a well-developed conscience.

14. Without a strong conscience, a person’s innate aggressiveness

—————————————————————————— and

—————————————————————————— crime.

15. Many experts feel that this can come about only if the underclass

has the same_________________________ that the majority of the


Follow-up: Check the spelling of the dictated words with your teacher.

Discuss the meanings of those words and any other unfamiliar words

in the sentences.

C. Predictions

Using the photographs and the vocabulary exercise as a starting point,

write three questions that you think will be answered in the lecture.

Example: • How did the underclass in the United States develop?

1._________________________________________________________ 2.


Follow-up: After you have written your questions, share them with your teacher and your classmates.

D. Notetaking Preparation

1. Structuring

It is easier to get information from your notes if you make an effort to organize the ideas on the page as you take notes. Organizing the ideas means putting the ideas down in a logical way. The first step in organiz­ing your ideas is to distinguish between main ideas and secondary ideas. Organize your notes by writing main ideas all the way to the left of the page and by writing secondary ideas a little to the right. Details can be indented even further to the right. Look at how the introduction to this lesson has been structured, and answer the questions that follow.

Crime statistics match public’s perception of less crime

• 1994-2001: violent crime decreased 52%

• 1994: 51 victims per 1,000

• 2001:24 " " "

• Possible reasons for decrease

• Stricter law enforcement in cities

• Stringent penalties on repeat offenders

• Statistics on white-collar crime (embezzlement, bribery, and so on) not as clear

• Statistics hard to get.

• It doesn’t scare people.

a. What is the main idea of the introduction?

b. How many ideas (secondary) support the main idea? What are they?

c. How many details support the secondary ideas? What are they? Follow-up: Now check your answers with your teacher.

2. Rhetorical Cues

Read these sentences, in which the lecturer uses rhetorical cues to make a transition from one topic to another. Decide in which order you will hear them. Number them from first (1) to sixth (6).

__ a. To start off with, liberals—in politics, sociology, and other

fields—typically embrace the first theory.

__ b. Actually, I feel that both theories serve us in identifying


__ c. Crime is such a difficult issue to discuss because it can be

looked at in so many different ways. Today I’d like to take a philosophical, sociological look at society and crime by dis­cussing two theories of crime.

___ d. In another lecture, we’ll look at the justice system.

__ e. So we need to look a little further into the causes of crime,*

let’s look at the second theory.

__ f. The second theory, often embraced by conservatives, sees

people as innately aggressive and predisposed to violence.

Follow-up: Discuss your answers as a class.

Q A. First Listening

You already have notes for the introduction. Review those notes so that you can follow how the notetaker structured the information. Then use the first listening to take down the three major subtopics. As you take down additional information, structure it by putting main ideas to the left and indenting for secondary ideas and indenting even further for details.





Follow-up: Now check your major subtopics with your teacher.

0 B. Further Listening

While listening again, write down necessary relevant details below the main subtopic to which they belong. Remember to structure the infor­mation as you take it down.

Follow-up: Check your notes. If you missed important information or have doubts about your notes, (1) verify them by asking a classmate questions to fill the gaps in your notes or (2) listen to the lecture a third time. When verifying your notes with a classmate, do not show each other your notes; ask specific questions to get the information you need.

Examples: • Do you have any idea whether liberals embrace the first

theory or the second one?

• I’m wondering if you caught how society socializes people.

This is also a good time to check to see if the lecturer answered your Predictions questions about the lecture.

0 A. Accuracy Check

Listen to the following questions, and write short answers. Use your notes. You will hear each question one time only.

1. ______________________________________________________________

2. _________________________________________________________________





7. ________________________________________________________


9. _________________________________________________________

10. _________________________________________________________________

Follow-up: Check your answers with your teacher. If your score is less than 70 percent, you may need to listen to the lecture again or rewrite your notes so that you can understand and retrieve the information in them.

B. Oral Activities

1. Review

In groups of four, use your notes to practice giving one section of the lecture to classmates. Take turns practicing different sections until everyone has had a chance to speak. For example, Student A will give the introduction, Student В will give subtopic 1, and so on. Check what you hear against your notes. If you don’t understand or you disagree with what you hear, wait until the speaker finishes. Then bring your notes into agreement by clarifying points of disagreement, as follows:

• Would you mind repeating what you said about why crime is a dif­ficult issue to discuss?

• Excuse me. Can you tell me once again why society is to blame, according to the first theory?

2. Transfer

If your class is multinational, prepare a short oral report about crime in your country, covering the points below. Work with the other students from your country.

If your classmates are all from your country, discuss crime in your country as a class. Discuss these points:

• How much crime is there in your country?

• Is the crime rate increasing or decreasing?

• What are the causes of crime?

• What solutions would you propose to reduce crime?

C. Collaboration: Writing Answers to Essay Questions

On the quiz at the end of this unit, there will be short-answer ques­tions and essay questions. You will answer the short-answer questions with a few words or a sentence or two. You will answer the essay ques­tions with a complete English paragraph.

With a partner, plan and write essay answers to the questions on crime. One will write the answer down, but both partners will collabo­rate in forming the answers.

Essay Questions

1. Contrast the two theories about the causes of crime in the United States.

2. Discuss how society socializes us, according to the second theory of crime.

Follow-up: Share your answers with at least one other group. Or share your answers orally as a class, and discuss the strengths in each answer.

D. Pursuing the Topic

The following are recommended for a closer look at crime in the United States:


Reiss, Albert f. and Roth, Jeffrey A. Understanding and Preventing Violence. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1993.

The book, which you can read in the electronic version on the Internet, helps to better understand the causes of crime and provides intelligent advice about curbing it. It isn’t as current as some materials but is a good investigation of the problem.


Boyz ’N the Hood, John Singleton, director; 111 minutes, R.

The film shows young African American males who live in a world where physical and psychological violence are a constant threat.

Of Mice and Men, Gary Sinise, director; 110 minutes, PG-13.

From a John Steinbeck novel, the film depicts the difficulties of two itinerant workers, one of whom commits a murder.

The Fugitive, Andrew Davis, director,- 127 minutes, PG-13.

A remake of an earlier movie and a TV series, this film shows a falsely accused man who escapes the police to prove himself innocent of his wife’s murder.

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