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By F. Heidensohn

Crime in Europe seems on the styles of crime and policing within the new Europe of the Nineteen Nineties. The participants take on quite a lot of concerns in an try and determine a very comparative and suitable criminology for Europe.

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The theory of ‘relics’, however, still has some currency, mainly in Soviet and the GDR’s writings. It is stated from time to time that the development of socialism has, as yet, failed to resolve many important social problems, especially economic ones; this causes inequality between social classes, which is apparent in the fields of welfare, culture and consciousness. This status quo is regarded as a result of the has-been, 46 Patterns and Trends capitalist social relations which are the direct cause of criminality, and which are an inevitable consequence of the transition from socialism into communism (Lekschas et al.

It is to be hoped, however, the pressures towards progress will recognise the benefits of difference for experiment and for analysis. We may see both a localisation and a wider uniformity in criminal justice. In other areas of enquiry, I feel it is highly unlikely that criminology will become uniform. Perhaps more prone to radical change, perhaps less insular, as we may move back to a time when schools of thought can spread more easily than now. But it will never become homogeneous: its very nature as a between subject—between law, sociology, psychology, psychiatry, geography, politics and many others—will ensure that.

This phenomenon is not easily explained with certainty, but it has coincided with economic changes during the 1980s including inflation and may also be connected with changes in recording practice. In Poland between 1980 and 1986, the number of convictions for thefts was on average less than one-quarter of the number of thefts known to the police. If we speculate that a similar rate were also to apply to the GDR, thefts would amount to 41 per cent of all crimes known to the Republic’s police. 9 per cent of convictions being for thefts could be explained by the different rates of prosecution for different crimes by the police.

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