Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

6.0: Prelude to Deviance, Crime, and Social Control

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Social Issues in the News

    On May 29th an 18 year old male walked into a classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and shot and killed 19 students and 2 teachers (Elamroussi, 2022).  "A bustling entertainment district turned into a scene of carnage when multiple shooters opened fire in the South Street area of Philadelphia, killing at least three people and wounding 11 others, police said." (Rose, Yan, Beech & Tucker, 2022).  As of June 5th 2022 there were 239 mass shootings in the United States in 156 days.  Why do crimes like this happen? What can be done to reduce such crime?  What strategies for reducing crime does a sociological understanding of criminal behavior imply? These terrible crimes were, of course, just one of millions that occur in the United States each year. A central message of this book so far is that society is possible because people conform to its norms, values, and roles. As the sad story of the Robb Elementary School illustrates, this chapter has a different message: that people often violate their society’s norms and are sometimes punished for doing so. Why do they commit deviance and crime? What influences their chances of being punished? How do behaviors come to be defined as deviant or criminal? Recalling this book’s emphasis on changing society, how can crime and deviance be reduced? These are questions that sociologists have long tried to answer, and we explore possible answers in the pages that follow.


    Elamroussi, A. (2022, June 5).  As officials push for answers in Uvalde school shooting nearly 2 weeks after the massacre, families are still burying their children.  Retreived from

    Goodman, P. S. (2009, April 20). As a budget gets tighter, police battle rising crime. The New York Times, p. A13.

    Rose, A., Yan, H., Beech, S. & Tucker E. (2022, June 5). 'Several active shooters' in a popular Philadelphia area leave 3 dead and 11 others wounded.  Retrieved from

    Rucker, P. (2009, April 8). Some link economy with spate of killings. The Washington Post, p. A3.

    6.0: Prelude to Deviance, Crime, and Social Control is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?