Theories of Crime
Theories of Crime
Theories of Criminal Behavior
The explanation of the origins of criminal behavior has always been a source of concern for criminologists’ thoughts. There is a requirement to distinguish between proximate and distal causes of criminal behavior (Weatherburn, 2001). While proximal causes occur before to a crime, distal causes occur later in time, but are no less important in determining the outcome. The biological, societal, and psychological variables that contribute to distal causes of crime, or their combination, are commonly assigned.
The biological theory of crime has its roots in the work of Casare Lombroso, who investigated the genetic basis of antisocial conduct in the 1950s and 1960s (Morley&Hall, 2003). But at the moment, there is a biological hypothesis that takes into account the influence of brain structure and hormones on the emergence of aberrant conduct. As a result, one of the antecedent conditions of crime, which is influenced by biological variables, is the proclivity of the parents to engage in criminal conduct or their psychological problems. The evidence of complicated interrelationships between hereditary characteristics and environmental influence is the most crucial question within this theory. There is a great deal of evidence suggesting a genetic predisposition to engage in criminal activity, which comes mostly from studies of twins and non-twin siblings, among other sources (Weatherburn, 2001). However, there is compelling evidence for the role of environmental variables in the development of autism, notably in studies of twins who have been separated (Morley&Hall, 2003).
Criminal behavior, according to psychological theories, has a close association with characteristics such as personality traits and cognitive development. In particular, it has been demonstrated in multiple studies that offenders have a lower IQ on average than the general population (Weatherburn, 2001). As a result, poor school achievement is frequently cited as a significant predictor of criminal activity, particularly when combined with other unfavorable social factors. Furthermore, psychiatric illnesses that are associated with violent conduct can serve as early warning signs of criminal activity. One of the main focuses of psychological theories is the influence of parental behavior, which is important because it is commonly documented that child abuse or neglect frequently results in antisocial behavior in adulthood.
An important component of the sociological approach to crime is the examination of the impact of social structural elements (such as poverty and unemployment) in various social contexts. The theories of strain theory, conflict theory, differential opportunities theory, and developmental life course theory are the most significant theories within this approach (Zembrowski, 2011). All of them are of the opinion that the antecedent reasons of criminal behavior are rooted in the individual’s adverse position in the social structure, which can be exacerbated by cultural elements such as language and ethnic background. Constant disagreement with peers is one of the most common early markers of criminal activity, which is encouraged by social circumstances. Despite the fact that social theories have recently gained prominence, there is a scarcity of empirical data since it is difficult to verify the causal linkages that they posit.
People’s predisposition to commit crimes is firmly founded in their prior experiences or in their personality qualities, despite the fact that there may be a variety of current explanations for their actions. Modern theories of crime causation place a strong emphasis on aspects such as social, psychological, and biological influences. There is a great deal of evidence that these factors are important when considered individually, but it is more plausible to infer that they work together to generate crime.