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A Sociological Explanation of Crime Rates and Trends
A sociological explanation of crime rates and trends
Wesley G.JenningsUniversity of South Florida
Jennifer M.ReingleThe University of Texas School of Public Health, Dallas Regional Campus

Tracking crime over time is a complex process, because “crime” constitutes hundreds of heterogeneous behaviors that change in their definition and prevalence across persons, time, and space. What is a “crime”? Is using marijuana a crime? Clearly, the measurement of crime differs by jurisdiction, type of behavior, and social acceptability. For example, in the mid-2000s, a person who was apprehended in possession of a marijuana joint would be sent to jail. Today, that same person might present a medical marijuana card and be released without much question.

Marijuana use is a clear example to illustrate the ...

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