Theories of Crime

Satisfactory Essays
Theories of Crime
Biological Positivism
Lombroso (1876) believed that evolution could explain behaviour. He thought that many criminals were found to have a distinctive physique, such as protruding ears, sloping foreheads, long arms, a prominent jaw and a receding chin. He described criminals as being ‘atavistic’ similar to an earlier form of evolutionary life. Sheldon (1949) also believed a criminal was determined by someone’s body type, he believed there were three body types, endomorph: short and fat, ectomorph: skinny and frail and mesomorph: heavy and muscular. He found that 60% of delinquents and 31% of non- delinquents were mesomorphic.

Free Will
The belief that humans are rational and have the ability to make decisions for themselves. People can understand the difference between right and wrong and therefore chose to either commit crime or to follow the law. Beccaria (1764) believes that an offender is therefore someone who has no self-discipline, either that or they deliberately choose to break the law.

Control Theory
Claims to ask people why they do not commit crimes rather than why they do. This theory focuses on the methods used to control crime. It is believed that there are motivations to commit a crime such as financial profit, social status and even the enjoyment of committing it. Hirschi (1969) believes that an offender is more likely to commit a crime with their attachments to society are either weak or broken down.

Labelling theory
Becker (1963) believed that people were not offenders until they were labelled as being one. Labelling theory considers the reactions of people and the impact of their responses. Once a person has been given a label such as a ‘thief,’ they tend to segregate themselves from society, and become an ‘outsider.’ They then may live up to the label that they have been given.
Strain Theory

Strain Theory
Merton (1938) believes that people will commit crimes when there is a ‘strain’ between cultural goals

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Crime Theories

    • 770 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Crime Theories Jaime Morris Professor Al CIS170-Wk.4Ass.2 11/04/12 Digital crimes are believed to be caused by different types of theories. The Strain theory could be the cause of digital crimes because the strain of everyday life. The Strain theory is a sociological theory. The strain of an individual’s everyday life is causing people to “give in” to the pressures in society. Some of these individuals feel that they can’t survive without crime. Strains such as peer pressure…

    • 770 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Crime Theories

    • 353 Words
    • 2 Pages

    CIS170 Crime Theories Professor Randy Smith January 24, 2012 The purpose of this paper is to select one (1) of the theories suggested to be the cause of digital crime and explain the theory in your own words as it relates to crime in general, and describe why the theory chosen could be recognized as the most relevant in terms of being a cause of digital crime. Differential-association theory: Edwin Sutherland coined the phrase differential association to address the issue of how people learn…

    • 353 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Crime Theories

    • 468 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Crime Theories Information Technology in Crime August 13, 2012 There are several theories on why people commit crimes and people will never stop creating these theories. The theory that I believe it the reason why people commit crimes is the Subcultural Theory. This states that all criminals have values, norms, and beliefs but they are so much different from “our” values, norms, and beliefs. To the criminal, he is following their values, norms, or beliefs but we see it has breaking or not following…

    • 468 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Theories of Crime

    • 1443 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Why do people commit crime? This is relatively strong topic discussed by sociologists that believe criminal or deviant behaviors are not because of ones physical characteristic. This essay will mainly focus on the Functionalist and Conflict Theories of crime. Conflict theorist argue that deviance is deliberately chosen, and often political in nature, where as Functionalist theorist argue that deviance and crime is caused by structural tensions created by social structure. Functionalists argue that…

    • 1443 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Theories of crime

    • 1181 Words
    • 5 Pages

    One such influential psychological theory of crime is by Bowlby (1969), who emphasized that crime is the product of attachment insecurity with the mother. Bowlby identified that the type of attachment relationship in childhood leads to the development of a cognitive framework known as the internal working model which consists of mental representations for understanding the world, self and others. A person’s actions and interactions are guided by this internal working model and influences their contact…

    • 1181 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Theories of Crime

    • 1359 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Theories of Crime Javier Bryon AIU Online Abstract There are many theories that attempt to explain criminal behavior. Social theories indicate that interaction with other individuals and environment are factors that contribute to criminal behavior. Many argue that social factors alone cannot be the only cause to criminal behavior, but peer pressure and rationalization are powerful tools of behavior modification. Theories of Crime Crime theories can vary greatly. A lot of…

    • 1359 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Crime Theories

    • 766 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Various Theories of Crime Causation vickie murphy AIU online E.Hale 2/19/12 Abstract Within this paper we will discuss the merits of the idea that genetics are a source for criminal behavior. As well as some of the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence surrounding genetics and crime and In closure what would be some of the repercussions in the criminal justice field if the existence of the criminal gene is proven to be true. Theories of Crime Causation To begin to understand the…

    • 766 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Theories Of Crime

    • 560 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Crime can be defined as any human conduct that violates any criminal law of a given state, the federal government, or a local jurisdiction that has the power to make and enforce the laws. It is difficult sometimes to explain why people engage in illegal and deviant behaviors because each offender have a different motive for committing crime but most people commit crime due to poverty, unemployment, peer pressure, social inequality, and the system that refuses to take back inmates as part of the society…

    • 560 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    theories of crime

    • 2399 Words
    • 8 Pages

    TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction ……………………………………………………..1 Differential association theory………………..………………….2 Anomie theory……………………………………………………5 Conclusion……………………………………………………….11 References ………………………………………………………..13 INTRODUCTION The crime rate is on the rise in Kenya some theories try to define these rising criminality in Kenya. Anomie theory and differential association theory best explain the rising criminality in Kenya like for example in Kenya many individuals…

    • 2399 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Theories of Crime

    • 901 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Theories of Crime: Comparisons and Contrasts Cheryl Diana Drake Everest University Phoenix The causes of crime are still really not known. There are many different theories and perspectives on why crime exists. However, even with all of the studies and perspectives on crimes committed, it appears to me that the causes of crime are only speculative. Biological Theory The biological theories primarily study the physical constitution and endocrinology. They are a very good example of the theories…

    • 901 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Powerful Essays