What Causes Crime

Topics: Sociology / Pages: 5 (1162 words) / Published: Sep 10th, 2013
Biological, psychological, and sociological theories of crime all seek to determine why individuals commit crime. Biological theorists link crime to physical and/or mental traits of an individual. Psychological theorists link crime to influences of individual and family factors, such as events that take place during childhood that have an impact on an individual during adulthood. Sociological theorists link crime to an individual’s social environment, such as family and economic status. The common denominator between the three is determining the cause of crime.

Biological theorists say criminals bear physical and/or mental traits that make them different and abnormal. This view was shared with Cesare Lombroso, an Italian physician and criminologist. Some trait theorists believe that biochemical conditions, including both those that are genetically predetermined and those that are acquired through diet and environment, influence antisocial behavior. According to Siegel (2012), trait theorists today do not suggest that a single biological or psychological attribute is thought to adequately explain all criminality (p.143). It is believed that some criminals may have inherited criminal tendencies, while others may be suffering from nervous system problems, or may have a blood chemistry disorder that heightens their anti-social activity. Bio-criminologists also recognize that human traits alone do not produce criminality and that crime producing interactions involve both personal traits and environmental factors (Siegel, 2012, p.133). Their mental and physical traits are but one part of a large pool of environmental, social, and personal factors that account for criminality. The XYY Syndrome, previously known as “Supermale” Syndrome, is a biological theory that was studied by several researchers in the 1960s (XYY, 2005). XYY syndrome is a chromosome disorder that affects males. These males have an extra Y chromosome.

References: Bibliography of Frank Lucas- A True American Gangster. (n.d.). Retrieved August 11, 2009 from http://www.tribute.ca/features/american_gangster/frank_lucas_biography.asp Montaldo, C. (n.d.). David Berkowitz-The Son of Sam. Retrieved August 10, 2009 from http://crime.about.com/od/murder/p/sonofsam.htm Siegel, L. (2012). Criminology: Trait Theories, (11th Ed). XYY Syndrome (2005). Retrieved August 10, 2009 from http://www.bookrags.com/research/xyy-syndrome-wog/

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