Violence, U.S.A. Riots and Crime

  • Marvin E. Wolfgang


Violence in America today is more than the society wishes to tolerate, but should be considered historically and cross-culturally. Labor and other riots in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were probably more destructive than current disturbances. America is not a “sick” society but does have violence within an essentially nonviolent culture. The fear of being victimized from crimes of violence is real but greater than statistics on victimization indicate. To riot is a violation of the law and partially a reflection of inadequate response from government and other agencies to legitimate grievance and dissent. To resort to violence is a sign of despair and a failure to have alternative avenues of expression. A subculture of violence exists in many cities and is generated from the value system associated with the poor, the deprived, the residents of segregation. Dispersal of the Population from this subculture is the major solution for its elimination. The task of a democracy is to guarantee the right to dissent, to respond to protest, and to fortes freedom while maintaining social control.


Supra Note Crime Rate Violent Crime Homicide Rate Dominant Culture 
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    In this section I am drawing upon some notions similarly expressed in Marvin E. Wolfgang and Franco Ferracuti, The Subculture of Violence (London: Tavistock; New York: Barnes and Noble, 1967).Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

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  • Marvin E. Wolfgang

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