Why Crimes Are Committed

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The focus of Samuel Walker's "Sense and Nonsense About Crime and Drugs" is crime reduction strategies. Some that work, and others that, as the title implies, are nonsense. The fifth edition of the "Criminology" textbook discusses a wide variety of criminal justice aspects, including; who commits crime and why; the history of studying crime and various attempts at reducing and dealing with crime. Criminology is, in essence, the study of why people omit crimes. In some instances, the two books agree, in others, they do not.

Throughout the United States and internationally, many different efforts have been made to understand and combat crime. Some of these attempts are basic and seem commonsense, some are more drastic. An example is the extensive studies of "Career Criminals", and a criminal's careers in general. Career criminals are defined as having more than five contacts with police through their lives. Walker attests that for thirty plus years career criminals have been a concentration of crime control policy in terms of "preventative detention, major offender prosecution programs, selective incapacitation- …aimed at the so called career criminal" (Walker 68). If the causes and reasons for certain individuals to continue committing crimes through adult life are identified, it is thought that they can be reduced, even eliminated, thus reducing crime. Both books reference the same study to make estimations about career criminals. Through an intensive 18 year study performed of Philadelphia males "birth cohorts" (a group of people born in the same year) by Marvin Wolfgang, it was determined that of the 9,945 people studied, 627 (6% of the original cohort) were career criminals. They were liable for over half of all of the total crimes committed and affirmed the belief that chronic juvenile offenders continue to do so through maturity. Researchers cannot pinpoint why some adults choose to continue to commit crimes, while others "mature out" (Walker)...
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