Crimes and Criminal Tendencies: Cause and Effect

Topics: Crime, Criminology, Gang Pages: 6 (2174 words) Published: April 14, 2008
I.Criminal tendencies - defined
A.Trivial and mundane affairs that result in little loss and less gain B.Events that require little preparation
II.Nature and/or causes of crimes
A.Crimes occur because they are chosen
B.Parental and school supervision has been lacking
C.Pressures from delinquent peers
D.Narcotics, solvents and/or alcohol abuse
E.Misunderstanding of the theories and nature of crimes
III.What can be done?
A.Authorities have to punish the choice
B.Provision of work schemes and/or training initiatives

Crimes and Criminal Tendencies
News articles, reports and other credible materials revealed that criminal behaviors and/or tendencies are becoming highly prevalent, bringing more and bigger problems to society. Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) suggest that the problem with most approaches to crime is that they tend to ignore its characteristics. While not denying the prevalence of serious victimization, "the vast majority of criminal acts are trivial and mundane affairs that result in little loss and less gain". These are events "whose temporal and spatial distributions are highly predictable", typically representing unprotected targets close at hand with little or no surveillance or resistance. They are also events that "require little preparation," virtually no specialized knowledge or skill and "often do not produce the result intended by the offender". Following a review of the evidence, they make the same case for so-called white collar offenders and organized crime. Quoting Stanton Wheeler and his associates, they report that "we emerged with a strong sense of the banal, mundane quality of the vast majority of white collar offences". This observation reinforces the credibility of the theory's claim to be "general" In terms of their theory of action, Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) argue that all crimes occur because they are chosen. They say that there is significant variation in the extent to which people choose to act offensively or recklessly based on their underlying "criminality". This criminality or impulsiveness is an individual property characterized by several things: the need for immediate gratification of desires, the utilization of simple means ("money without work, sex without courtship, revenge without court delays"), preferences for exciting, thrilling, or risky activities, little interest in long term interpersonal or economic investments, little interest in skilful or sophisticated criminal planning, and insensitivity to the pain or discomfort of others. This global outlook will also extend to the non-criminal acts of low self-control individuals: "they will tend to smoke, drink, use drugs, gamble, have children out of wedlock, and engage in illicit sex... people who lack self-control will tend to be impulsive, insensitive, physical (as opposed to mental), risk-taking, short-sighted, and nonverbal, and they will tend therefore to engage in criminal and analogous acts". Such traits appear where parental supervision has been lacking, and/or where discipline has been harsh and inconsistent, where the children are stigmatized and rejected, as opposed to shamed and reintegrated (Braithwaite 1989). The traits are evident to teachers as early as the first grades and they tend to persist throughout the life cycle. This is the stability theorem, and it has considerable relevance in penology since it makes later life rehabilitation unrealistic. This general theory is important because it is quite clear about the probable relevance of a number of other key life experiences to delinquency and misconduct - the school, delinquent friends, drugs, and criminal justice interventions. Contrary to suggestions of school critics, the school is not a primary source of experience which fosters criminal careers. The school makes demands of control, discipline, and accountability which are difficult for the low self-control student to meet, and, for this...
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