How would a structural theorist explain the presence of middle class crime?
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Structural theorists do not tend to focus much on middle class crime. They tend to discount it, saying that middle class crime is less important than lower class crimes. This is in part because lower class crimes tend to be more violent than middle class crimes.
To the extent that structural theorists do focus on middle class crime, they might attribute it to structural weaknesses in the community and family. They would argue that even middle class communities today are less cohesive than they once were. The rise in ethnic diversity could be partly responsible for this. So could the rise in mobility among Americans. Both of these lead to neighborhoods where people do not know one another well and cannot exert social control over one another. Another factor would be the decline in the strength of American families. All of these structural changes have reduced the level of social control that can be exerted over people, even in a middle-class, relatively privileged setting.
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