Why do individuals commit crimes?

Topics: Sociology, Criminology, Crime Pages: 5 (1397 words) Published: April 8, 2014


Can I Have Some Theory With That Crime?

Why do individuals commit crimes? Society today is very well concerned with this matter. In todays time, there are psychologists, criminologists, biologists, and sociologists searching for an answer. In reality, the answer to this question is very hard to find out. However, for centuries, researchers of all kinds have been persistent in analyzing criminals for an answer. The scholarly attention to crime from various perspectives has allowed for an extensive range of theories which are based on three broad theoretical approaches of explaining criminal behaviour. These theoretical approaches, which focus on the causes of crime and deviance in modern society, are the biological approach, psychological approach and the sociological approach.

First, the Biological Theory believes that an individuals biology determines if a person becomes a criminal or not. It specifically implies that people are born criminals because of a specific heredity factor different from non-criminals. The central idea of the Biological Theory states that criminals have a mental and/or physical inferiority which causes them to commit criminal acts. In specific, Lombroso's Theory of Criminal Type categorizes people as potential criminals by the physical characteristics they possess. Lombroso's Theory specifically believes that criminals can be identified through skeletal characteristics such as wide shoulders, crispy hair, flattened nose and so on (Bura, n.d.). Despite the criticism of Lombroso's theory, the majority of biological criminologists agree that the underlying cause of criminal behaviour is believed to be caused by a biological factor. Evidence for supporting this position can be found in the study of twins. Research has found that identical twin pairs tend to share more criminal tendencies than non identical twins suggesting a link between a genetic factor in criminal tendencies. Furthermore, research also found the same evidence between identical twins who were separated at birth and did not share anything but genes. This shows that there is a correlation between genetic predisposition and criminal tendencies. Research also found that when a child was adopted from a biological parent who had committed a crime, the child was more likely to have been convicted of a crime than an individual whose adoptive parents had been convicted (Stander, n.d.). Given, the proof gathered by researching twins, I do believe there is a biological factor present in our nature which leading us to criminal tendencies; however, I do not believe that it has to do with the physical characteristics of an individual such as Lombroso's Theory suggests.

Furthermore, another significant factor in the explanation of crime exists in the psychology of an individual. A psychological approach to why criminals commit crimes focuses on individual mental abnormalities (Miller, 2009). The Psychological Theory of Crime specifically states that criminal behaviour is a consequence that has resulted from individual factors. These factors, which can range from an individuals childhood to mental illnesses, cause criminal thinking patterns and/or incomplete cognitive development (Bryne, 2010). Ultimately, criminal psychologists have come up with a substantial amount of psychological factors which have been proven through research to influence a criminals actions. These theories particularly explore childhood experiences, personality, intelligence, and mental disorders. For example: The Psychodynamic Theory revolves around the idea that an individuals early life experiences impact his or her likelihood for committing future crimes. In particular, this theory focuses on an individuals personality. It states that a persons personality is made up by unconscious mental processes that are created early on in life. Freud, the founder of the psychoanalysis and a well known psychologist, believes...

References: Bura, R. (2012). What are the biological theories of crime? Perserve Articles. Retrieved from www.perservearticles.com
Standler, J
Miller, M. (2009, January 9). Psychological Theories of Crime [HTML version]. Retrieved from www.library.uvic.ca
Byrne, J
Beck, L. (2009). Three main sociological theories of crime. Retried from www.voices.yahoo.com
April 11, 2013
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