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 people think that poverty or social status is a major factor on criminal behavior. Others believe that is embedded in human beings to be born with evil therefore we are attracted to crime. Bottom line is deterrence cannot be achieved unless the underlining cause for criminal behavior is found.
Social Control Theory The social control theory does not ask the question “what makes people to commit a crime?” It bases its belief on the assumption that people are thought from a very young age between right and wrong. Social interaction is the key for the theory; humans are thought since birth the rules of society. Parents at home, and teachers in schools, are both the primary tutors of the upbringing of social behavior. According to Williams & McShane (2010), “Theories of social control all rely on social factors to explain how people are restrained from acting in ways harmful to others.” The strengths behind this theory is that social behavior is an immense factor when dealing with criminal behavior. If parents did not teach their children that taking candy from a store without paying was bad, then can we really blame that child for taking the candy? But on the other hand we do have those parents that carved good morals, and taught their kids right from wrong, but the children still committed criminal acts. This theory does have a lot of weight on criminal behavior because without proper socialization individuals are more prone to be confused about what is right and
References: Williams III, F. P. & McShane, M. D. (2010). Criminological theory (5th ed.). (Online version). Retrieved from AIU Online Virtual Campus. Theories of Crime Causation: CRJS105-1204A:01 website. The Week (2012). 9 things we’ve learned about Jared Lee Loughner. Retrieved from http://theweek.com/article/index/211108/9-things-weve-learned-about-jared-lee-loughner Agnew, R. (1994). The Techniques of Neutralization and Violence. Criminology. 32, 555-580. Matza, D. & Sykes, Gresham (1961). Juvenile Delinquency and Subterranean Values. American Sociological Review. 26(5). 712-719.