Biological Explanation of Crime

Topics: Crime, Criminology, Police Pages: 3 (653 words) Published: September 14, 2010
Biological Explanations of Crime

Biological Explanations of Crime

Crime Statistics from the Chicago Police Department

Biological Explanations of crime

Cesare Lombroso

William Sheldon

Neurological Defects


Biological Explanations of Crime

In society today, crime rates are increasing at alarming rates. For decades, extensive amounts of research have been collected and analyzed in attempts to find out why people commit crime. In the city of Chicago, according to the Chicago Police Department Crime Summary, between January-August of 2008, when compared to January-August of 2007, the total crime incidents were up by 2. %. Murder rates in Chicago alone are up nearly 15.7%, and nearly 80%, involved firearms. As crime rates increase throughout the United States yearly, many people are asking the question why. Why are people committing crimes at alarming rates and do they actually have control over their actions?

Biological theories pertaining to the biological explanations of crime have been around for centuries. One of the most recognized theorists is Cesare Lombroso, founder of the Italian school of Positivist Criminology. In his biological explanation of crime, he believed criminal behavior to be genetic and that certain individuals who commit crime, can be identified by certain physical abnormalities or defects. One example is that murders have cold, glassy blood shot eyes, long hair and thin lips. He insisted that criminals committed acts that were beyond their control. William Sheldon theory of crime took on a different approach; he associates certain body types with certain behaviors. In his theory, he believed behavior to be inherited. Sheldon simply assumed that there is an association between personality and body type. Below are three basic body types according to Sheldon ▪ Endomorphs-which are heavy, obese; soft, round shaped ▪ Mesinirogs- rectangular build, muscular, hard and heavy ▪...
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