In an August opinion piece in The Buffalo News, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology James Sutton argues that politicians’ misuse of crime statistics is counterproductive to addressing problems associated with crime.
Sutton says that while Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s convention speech portrayed the country as being “plagued by out-of-control crime,” FBI statistics illustrate that crime rates in the U.S. have declined since the 1990s.
Public survey respondents, however, believe that crime is on the rise, a perception that Sutton explains is influenced by “inherently subjective sources with tenuous reliability for drawing conclusions about broader society.”
When this attitude toward crime persists, Sutton suggests, the true nature of crime is distorted. For instance, the experiences of survivors of “sexual assault, domestic violence and similar acts that rank among our most pervasive violent crimes” are then “obscured by crime discussions rooted in xenophobia and stranger danger…. Crime is indeed worthy of our attention, but distortions are counterproductive.”
In 2015, Sutton’s op-ed, “We must rethink our view of male anger,” appeared in the Democrat and Chronicle.
Sutton earned an A.A. in liberal studies from Long Beach City College, B.A. in sociology from California State University, Long Beach, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology – with a concentration in crime and community – from Ohio State University. He has taught classes on criminology, social deviance, juvenile delinquency, research methods and sociology of sport in the Anthropology and Sociology Department at HWS since 2012, and was granted tenure in 2016.
The full article in The Buffalo News can be read here.
In the photo above, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Sociology James Sutton teaches class at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.