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Our Crime: Fast and furious

Updated Thursday, 12th April 2012

Are joyriding youths showing a form of high-performance masculinity? Share your views right here.

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OUR CRIME: SPEED

INTV: Do you get a lot of boy racers in this area?

CARL SHIPLEY (C): Yea, there’s quite a few going around. Well it’s small towns and all that so they buy all these cheap cars soup them up and then just go around towns trying to outdo each other.

POLICE RADIO: Let it go, let it go.

POLICE RADIO: He’s done the crossing, he’s done the crossing there’s no way on this earth we were going through that. He’s continued.

SAM HOBSON (S): It was like an adrenaline rush really at the time I done it that’s what came through. I just like fast sports cars and driving.

S(ON UGC): What are we driving?

GIRL: A double decker!

INTV: Why do you think you filmed yourself on your phone?

S: I just think it was a memory to look back like started recording it because it’s not every day someone nicks a bus. 

(UGC)

GIRL: Crash into them fucking cars though.

S: Don’t crash into any cars please.

GIRL: Alright. Alright pommey.

S: Oh shit! Park it down here and get the fuck out now. Stop stop stop!

(Screams)

S: Stop stop get out get out get out get out.

GIRL: I can’t get out!

ANDI OSHO STAND UP: I’m going to talk to you about three west country teenagers who were caught joyriding a double decker bus. Now they would have actually got away with it, the police hadn’t a clue who had stolen the bus, except that one of the teenagers posted a clip of it on YouTube.

INTV: What was prison like?

S: It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I got on with everyone there.  “They recognised me anyway, they seen it on TV in prison on the news and then they said what are you in for and I told them and they were like, oh yeah, I seen that on TV and they said fair play. it was a stupid idea, a stupid thing to do, but you do that and you stand out more to everyone.

JON: Gaz was driving, I was in the front and Joe was behind me I think. It was quite an erratic drive but that was, it was just normal of Gaz. Driving fast, basically, yeah.  Just needlessly driving fast I suppose

NEWSREADER: A man has died after the car he was travelling in crashed on the road between Macynlleth and [Llandovey] in Powys. A second man who suffered serious injuries in the accident on Sunday is being treated at [ ] hospital in Aberystwyth.

CARL: Back then it was, it was like facebook was a pretty sort of newish thing to me, seeing like with other people like they’ve lost people and you hear about all of these sort of memorial pages on facebook for them. So, yea, I was probably the first one to write on his page. I know like for a couple of weeks after that I was really really depressed and so just writing on his wall constantly and for me it’s not the best thing to sorta get over a person.

INTV: How does writing a message up there help you deal with what happened to Joe?

HAYLEY: Because like you’re talking to him. Telling him stuff that you’ve done. It’s a big help actually.

ROD EARLE:  The car crime programme I guess yeah was an interesting presentation.  I thought well one of the features it seemed to rely quite heavily on, you know, police footage and sort of it struck me as quite similar to the lights, the crime sort of reconstruction films that, or television programmes, but I think there’s one thing that it said in the sum, one fairly nearly the start of it that young men are addicted to speed.  I don’t know, do you feel that you’d like to sort of comment on this assertion that it’s sort of a crime of largely young men and about speed.

MARY JANE KEHILY:  Yes, I’m not sure about speed.  You know, I think performance as we’ve mentioned before, I think performance comes into it, I can recall Bea Campbell’s work in Newcastle where she talks about joyriding, you know, it’s a local drama.  You know, everyone comes out to have a look and that’s a way in which young men can display their wares.  They can show off what they can do, they’re daring behind the wheel in a car that isn’t even theirs, and then it’s for the local community, and then they can make the police look totally ridiculous in trying to catch them.

So there’s a strong kind of dramatic element, strong kind of acting out of something there with care crime and we saw it in the programme round the double decker bus, I mean you can’t draw more attention to yourself than nicking a double decker bus and driving it around and, you know, the refrain, the crime even had its own chorus, like what are you driving, a double decker.  So I feel that they’re like kind of adverts, you know, they’ve got their own kind of unique selling point.

ROD EARLE:  And going back to your earlier point very exciting, I mean they talked about the adrenaline rush and the sort of, you know, I suppose the excitement of driving, because it sort of tips over then into ideas about kind of skill and power of controlling and driving a powerful car in flamboyantly extravagant style is I wonder again this issue around young men-

RICHARD HESTER:  And hypermasculinity.

ROD EARLE:  Yeah, feeling power, feeling a sense of power, and perhaps again I suppose going back a little bit to Bea Campbell, in areas and social circumstances and personal circumstances where they might not have other forms of socially approved power. 

MARY JANE KEHILY:  And, you know, and the driving around is a prelude to some kind of spectacular ending.  You know, it’s not going to end by pulling up into a car parking space and, you know, getting out and going home with a cup of cocoa.  It’s building up to some dramatic ending, some kind of climactic point, you know, where things go horribly wrong, so yes.

RICHARD HESTER:  I mean one of the things that was interesting about the programme on speed or cars was the very different nature of the behaviours and the reactions in the context of those behaviours.  So, you know, you had this quite forensic look at a particular incident of death by dangerous driving, and then you have just a glimpse of what seemed to be a very heavily stereotypical underclass difficult to get, you’ve just got the grainy film, often self-filmed or CCTV filmed coverage and you didn’t really hear that voice, because apart from the young person who you weren’t quite sure what he had to do with it, apart from the rosary round his neck which could be seen as a symbol of having served time, that’s all you’ve got.

A lot was as you say earlier was left to your imagination there, but it did strike me that there was a kind of whole range of stuff around cars, around young men particularly in cars, and it’s good to ask the question how that differs from most of the bread and butter crime that we get working in the youth justice system around acquisitive crime.

MARY JANE KEHILY:  I just wanted to mention like, you know, I think fairly obvious point is that cars are objects of mobility, they get you around and for young people who don’t have social mobility, the ability to move around freely, like car crimes it’s a creative kind of access to something they don’t have. 

ROD EARLE:  Cars symbolise don’t they I think particularly for men a sense of prestige, of status and, you know, the car you drive sort of defines the person you are, so, which seems to be a feature of certainly the kind of marketing of cars to men particularly.

RICHARD HESTER:  Indeed, yeah.

ROD EARLE:  And again these are sort of, you know, recurrent events as it were, so again without wanting to get too nostalgic, but when I was in the world of youth justice there was the events in Blackbird Leys Estate outside Oxford, which were again I think perhaps the first ways in which those were performatised sort of, you know, crimes as it were, because they were broadcast so heavily and again the novelty then was the idea that this was almost on the scale of a circus that it would be the audience are gathered together, the kind of the expert drivers are sent out, somebody else might have got the car and then they’re going to do the performance for the crowd.

The team are debating some of the themes from Our Crime: Speed, as part of the BBC Three/Open University co-production Our Crime.

Why do teenagers commit car crimes and post them online? What is the motivation for joyriders and boyracers? Join the debate.

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