Deviance is a path taken away from the social norms of certain societies. Deviant people tend to commit illegal crimes that are against these norms. Some people view certain crimes as deviant, while others may not. Crimes can be separated into two different categories, deviant and non-deviant. Non-deviant crimes are crimes that, although may be illegal, do not go against the norms of society. There can be categories such positive deviance as well as negative deviance. Positive deviance is beneficial for a society as people are not following norms for the good of the community and themselves. Negative deviance goes against the norms in a way that hurts a society and its people. All in all, it is up to the certain individual if a crime is considered deviant or not.
The first crime I would like to talk about is the old case of the Golden State Killer. This is an old case that has been pushed to the side due to the inability to solve it. The detectives could not find the true killer. Thanks to DNA evidence and new discoveries through books that entitled the crimes the killer committed, the police supposedly found the man that everyone called the Golden State Killer. This man Joseph DeAngelo was the suspected criminal of over 100 crimes that varied from killings, rapes, and robberies. This crime is considered to be a deviant crime by many sociologists due to the killings and robberies that took place. I would associate this crime with the labeling theory because according to The Washington Post, before DeAngelo committed his crimes, he witnessed another killer commit their crimes. DeAngelo responded by becoming intrigued with the killer and becoming a criminal of his own.
Another deviant crime that I would like to talk about is the violent murder of the rapper Tupac Shakur. According to CNN, Shakur was murdered by a certain gang while leaving a boxing match. He was shot multiple times in the chest causing his premature death. This violence was prevalent in the city they resided in. They lived in an area and time where gang activity was at a high as well as illegal activity. Due to this nature of environment, the deviant crime can be associated with Merton’s Strain Theory. The society encouraged certain deviant acts.
A non-deviant crime I want to talk about is the crime of theft that happened due to a mental illness. A man named Justin Volpe stole from another woman in Miami in 2007. According to Psychology Today, this was ruled as petty theft due to Volpe’s mental state. Volpe was experiencing hallucinations as well as a voice in his head that convinced him to steal which are symptoms of psychosis. This certain mental state caused Volpe’s case to be reconsidered. He was placed in a program that prevented him from serving jail time. This crime is considered non-deviant by sociologists due to the mental state of the man. The Medicalization of Deviance theory could be associated with this crime due to the cause of crime being the person’s mental state.
Another non-deviant crime that I want to talk about is the crime of robbery with a knife by John Champion in 2012. This man was handicapped due to a previous accident he was in. According to Ranker, after he robbed the convenient store with a knife, the police would not arrest him due to his physical disability. This is considered to be a non-deviant crime due to this physical disability. Much like the last crime, I would associate this case with the Medicalization of Deviance theory due to the state of Champion.
Deviance is a change in society that can be impactful or tragic. The more impactful side of the spectrum is considered positive deviance where people stray away from the society’s norms to better themselves or the community. There is also negative deviance which includes crimes such as robbery, rape, and murder. Although sociologists can view something as deviant or non-deviant, the state of the crime is in the judgement of the individual making the decision.