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Risks and Origins of Criminal Behavior


To begin with, it should be stated that criminal behavior, its risks and origins are regarded to be the psychological issues, the conflict of nature and nurture, which often contradict the most essential principles of life and living.

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In the light of the fact that the main origin of criminal behavior is the genetic image of the person, it should be stated that the responsibility of everyone’s genetic makeup is also defined by the issues of nurture and bringing up. Originally, most researches, arranged in this sphere are conducted regarding the debate of genes and upbringing, still, the most common conclusion is that both factors play an essential role in the criminality of any person. According to Tittle (2004, p.337): “This is confirmed on the examples of numerous twins, families, and adoption researches as well as laboratory experiments. Furthermore, the research has stated that it is more often an interaction between genes and the environment that predicts criminal behavior. Having a genetic predisposition for criminal behavior does not determine the actions of an individual, but if they are exposed to the right environment, then their chances are greater for engaging in criminal or anti-social behavior.” From this point of view it should be stated that for a complete understanding of the nature, and the matters of how genes and the issues of upbringing, as well as environmental impact criminal behavior, it is necessary to realize how criminal behavior is defined. Originally, it is defined not by the matters of psychology (environment) or biology (genes). It is clarified from the viewpoints of legal issues.

As for the matters of the developmental risk factors, it should be stated that criminal behavior can cover a wide range of activities consequently, researchers tend to focus on the wider context of antisocial behavior, still, the contradiction of biological origin and legislative clarification creates an essential gap for avoiding and preventing crimes. The factors, which influence an individual’s likelihood of involvement in criminal behavior are various, nevertheless, all the factors may be divided into two categories genetic and environmental, as there are no other reasons for becoming a criminal.

The biological risk factors are the only: genetic image of the person. Due to the fact that the experience of the generations is transmitted by the means of genes, a kid of non-criminal parents has few chances to become a criminal and vice versa. Still, there is another factor – social. A person may be forced to commit a crime, depending on the circumstances or situation. From this point of view, it should be stated that the strongest indicators of an individual’s potential involvement in criminal behavior are the fact of being born in a family of criminals and in a problem district/town/country, etc. where criminals and gangs define everything. Thus, the person will not know the other reality and will become a criminal, considering it as normal behavior.


Finally, there is a strong necessity to point out that the origins and risk factors of criminal behavior may be only genetic (biological) and social (environmental). In spite of the fact that some type of factors may dominate, the individuals choose the way of committing crimes only under the influence of both factors.


Reckless, W. C. (1940). Criminal Behavior (1st ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Taylor, C. (2005). Young People in Care and Criminal Behaviour. London: Jessica Kingsley.

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Tittle, C. R. (2004). Social Class and Criminal Behavior: a Critique of the Theoretical Foundation. Social Forces, 62(2), 334-358.

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