Street Kicks and Why

The report asserts that while financial gain is a common motive for many offenders, the proceeds often spent on “non-essential, status-enhancing” items, much wider forces were influential.
Co-author of the report Trevor Bennett says:

“The decision to commit street robbery can be explained in part by particular characteristics of the street culture…
“This finding is important, because British research has tended to explain robbery in terms of rational choice and to focus instead on the role of cost-reward calculations.
“Our research suggests that any explanation must primarily take into account cultural factors associated with life on the street.”
University of Glamorgan’s Centre for Criminology Report into Street Crime

On the BBC today, the father of Tom ap Rhys Pryce said he understood that some street robbers were seeking thrills. “We have to try and divert that desire for excitement or kicks or a buzz…into a different direction,” stressing the need to “help people who are in a disadvantaged situation… to get educational facilities.” saying this “could mean sport or music as well as ordinary academic help so that they can achieve their potential… rather than just wandering the streets”.
He has set up a charity to do just that.

Also on the BBC, Camilla Batmanghelidjh, of Kids Company, said street crime was a “systemic problem”, adding

“It would be really sad if this report got translated as a bunch of young people robbing for fun. It is not about that.
“It is for ‘kicks’, but you’ve have to understand what the ‘kick’ is. The ‘kick’ is people who are victims for prolonged periods of time developing a cycle of revenge so that they then get a high from victimising someone else.”

The reaction of Tom ap Rhys Pryce is quite amazing, given the prevalent tide of opinion. It is more than mere charity, it is an act of deep understanding. His interpretation of the general conclusions of this report give us all direction.
We live in a vast commercialised bureacracy. It is failing, and the only solutions being offered are those which will merely add to the bureacracy and make it even more inefficient, while doing nothing about the commercial values it promotes. And it is the commercial society which creates the Street Culture which the report uncovers.
We also live in a culture of power and money. Which are essentially the same thing. Together or apart they are the measures of status, either in the boardroom or on the sreet, and once achieved, status tends to excuse the methods by which it was achieved. We don’t care how most billionaires got rich, and neither does the culture we live in. All the law really says is: Don’t Get Caught. It delivers no incentive to social responsibility whatsoever because a consumerist competitive economy is not a positive force, encouraging people to take pride in being part of a community, but a negative one, urging everyone to clamber over their fellow human beings in order to escape from any resemblance of community and live in encapsulated isolation surrounded by toys, chemicals and sex. Its property laws are therefore only there as a sanction against actions which disturb the commercial process.
Every millionaire alive got rich by winning that Rat race, and every teenager mugging ‘for kicks’ is simply doing the same thing for the same reasons. The ones who go on to become millionaires, and there will be some, will be forgiven in turn, while their mates, who lost the race, will be known as Losers. Nothing is worse than being branded A Loser. Either in the street or in the boardroom.

Calls for more education, more punishment, ‘individual responsibility’ and more parenting are, of course, futile. And worse, a distraction. Until people feel genuine community responsibility, the streets will be no safer. And before there can be community responsibility, there has to be a community to feel responsible towards. At the moment, very few people live in a community of any kind.

It is impossible to say how much time and thought and money it will take to create a viable society, in which people are law-abiding because they naturally sympathise with the victim, rather than through fear of punishment, but that is what must be created, and must be started sometime, and to ask how much it will cost is almost to cause it never to happen. The cost of not creating it will always be much higher.
The current approach of blaming anyone in reach is a road to hell, and a further reinforcement of the culture of division which has created the devaluation of human life and values which the report of Professor Trevor Bennett and and Dr Fiona Brookman has highlighted.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: