The term ‘crime’ has been given various definitions. There is no single definition in use worldwide but crimes could generally be described as acts that are not allowed by the law and are punishable. Low or high magnitude crimes are all dealt with constitutionally. The issue that has bothered the society over the years is the reason why a person engages in criminal activities. This paper will review the theories that explain the factors that cause people to commit crimes.
The Biology, Genetics and Evolution Theory has relevance because it combines hereditary and environmental factors while describing crime and criminal activities. On hereditary factors, this theory is supported by Lombroso’s Crime Theory. Lombroso further explains that a person with appearance anomalies is categorised as a born criminal. This explains why people use physical appearance to brand others as criminals. Many people have disagreed with Lombroso on this issue because it would be wrong to label one a criminal due to his appearance. Gender is also vital in unravelling the mystery surrounding the crime. Theorists have indicated that there is a strong relationship between crime and males. This could be true to some extent although more and more females are getting involved in crime nowadays.
The environmental factors are related to the quality of food and mental condition that change a person into a criminal. Marx related crime to poverty meaning that people engaged in crime because they were born under poor conditions. Based on the observation by this paper, this notion is not true. The world has witnessed criminal activities being committed by citizens of countries suffering from political upheavals. Such citizens would be good people if their countries were politically stable.
According to Labeling’s Stereotyping Theory, people use some terms to describe others based on the ways they perceive them (deVoss 1). A person who is labelled in a certain way tends to behave like the label given. As such, criminals are bred in society by society itself. A criminal might have picked the tendencies from school after the community had labelled him in a certain way. This category of criminals is therefore defiant and engages in crime to prove other society members right in labelling them. This is the main reason why the teachers are trained to use positive remarks while dealing with students. When the same society becomes over conscious about what it expects from people, the issue of moral panic manifests itself. Under such circumstances, people will tend to engage in crime ostensibly due to panicking morally.
There exists some relationship between race and crime. Available statistics indicate that some races are more inclined to crime than others. This has raised controversy and encouraged members of certain races to become criminals at the same time. This has seen discrimination by police when dealing with crime. The end result has been increased racism.
Media, though it is a part of the society, has its own effects with regard to crime. These effects may be independent of the above theories. The role of media in all sectors of life cannot be underestimated. Through broadcasts, the media houses disseminate information that may have negative repercussions to society. The frequently watched movies that are full of actions only serve to sharpen the skills of the criminals. The publicity given to criminal activities influences the sober mind to engage in crime (Weatherburn 1). It is obviously worth noting that media is greatly involved in stereotyping giving more space for crime.
Crime may also emanate from the societal set up going by the Strain Theory. This has to do with the economic development levels, political and religious standing (Agnew 5). Education parse is an important element in the society. When many people get educated and are employed, the level of crime is greatly reduced. The opposite of this trend is a scenario whereby a portion of the society is not educated. The uneducated people envy the educated ones, and the only way to keep at par with them is through committing crime. Crime has also been associated with low aspirations where people have very low or no goals to achieve in life. Low wages have been known to lead people to crime. When workers earn less than they require for survival, the deficit has to be got in one way or another. This explains the reason why governments are encouraged to look into the issues of minimum wages as a way of alleviating crime.
Crime may result from people trying hard to seek self gratification. This could be people earning low wages and they require extra cash to reach their gratification. A majority of people including the well-to-do in the society have fallen into this trap.
In conclusion, it can be observed that there is no single theory that could be used on its own to describe the factors contributing to crime. It is therefore necessary to combine all the ideas from the various theories.
Agnew, Robert. “Reflection on “A Revised Strain Theory of Delinquency”. Social Forces 91.1 (2012): 33-38. Web.
deVoss, Gary. “Student Labeling Practices.” Theory into Practice 18.3 (1979): 158. Web.
Weatherburn, Don. “Uses and Abuses of Crime Statistics.” Crime and Justice Bulletin 153 (2011): 1-16. Web.