Personal Criminological Theory
Robin R. July
University of Phoenix
July 14, 2012
Researchers over periods of history have tried to form various theories on why people commit crime, and the causes associated with crime. Hence, it is difficult to come up with the right consensus as this topic is broad and technical. This paper will provide basic overviews of factors that cause crime, including psychological, biological, and sociological issues.
Personal Criminological Theory
Within the criminal justice system, conducting numerous researches would help not only criminologists, but also professional understand the reasons people commit crime and the occurrence of crime. Hence, theory associated with crime and behavior of criminals is important in the analysis, and collection of data in aiding the public to understand the reasons behind crime. Additionally, a theory may not be good or bad, however: researchers can use theories to identify good and bad effects (William & Mc. Shane, 2010).
Occurrence of Crime and Why People Commit Crime
People commit crimes because this is what they know best and want to do. Criminal behavior by an individual is matter of choice and with these behaviors people tend to make many shrouded excuses for committing crime. People who commit crime are normally motivated by their internal desire of ascendancy; anger, control, and revenge tend to exhibit their personal inadequacies. Hence, a quadrangle of self-motivated thinking transpires. The yearning, opportunity, ability, and to articulate the strategy of motivation along with the individuals??™ mind transforms into an outer expression of exploitation for them to commit crimes (Samenow, 1984, pp. 20-22). Individuals who commit crimes do it out of their own selfish desire and hope to gain everything that they never contributed to. Their criminal behavior inspires them to be insensitive in their opportunities to exploit others by their prurient interests, by satisfying their abilities to continue to live a life of crime. According to (Schmalleger, 2006, p. 118-119) ???the criminal is not a victim of society, neither are they forced into committing crimes or into a disadvantage position by others, they simply refuse to accept responsibility and accountability for their actions.??? When these criminals are arrested and prosecuted for their criminal actions, they see it fit to puppet excuses the media, politicians, and social sciences by way of labeling their behavior to be biological, psychological, socio-economic factors, which is preconceived for them to offset their criminal acts. Nevertheless, a combination of those social science factors can be behind what propel people to commit crimes. Additionally, people who commit crimes have already made choices for their behavior, some may choose to live a life of crime rather than to be employed citing that a life a crime would bring them greater rewards, excitement, and admiration until they are.
Variables Associated with Crime
Each year within the United States crime statistics is circulated; many government agencies, news media, and organization interested with crime statistics used these appropriated data to evaluate crime patterns of states, cities, and towns. Crime statistics provides rankings, however: the data used by researchers are merely a quick assessment of varying patterns and in no way concise in determine the many variables that mold crime in any particular geographic location or jurisdiction. On many occasions these statistical rankings provide simple and incomplete analysis on why crime is so high in particular locations, causing misleading information to the masses of society and impacting policies, decisions, and budgetary needs in crime fighting initiatives.
Moreover, to understand and make assessment of crimes within various jurisdictions and the response of law enforcement organizations to crime, many variables can be considered. For instance, some variables may not have a profound impact on crime and should not be considered as a tool to compare pervasively to regions of the country. Demographical and geographical factors must be the main emphasis by which a comprehensive and accurate analysis is applied to a particular jurisdiction to solve or implement programs for crime control. There are several ways responsible researchers can use in determining the many variables that is associated and affects crime in a particular geographic region. The U.S. Census Bureau data provides detailed information to understand makeup of a locale??™s population. The impermanence of the population, it??™s racial, and ethnic makeup, its composition by age and gender, educational levels, and prevalent family structures are all key factors in assessing and comprehending the crime issue (FBI, 2009). Below are variables that can affect cohesive collection of data to evaluation of crime occurrence.
?¦Population density and degree of urbanization.
?¦Variations in composition of the population, particularly youth concentration.
?¦Stability of the population with respect to residents??™ mobility, commuting patterns, and transient factors.
?¦Economic conditions, including median income, poverty level, and job availability.
?¦Cultural factors and educational, recreational, and religious characteristics.
?¦Family conditions with respect to divorce and family cohesion.
?¦Effective strength of law enforcement agencies.
?¦Administrative and investigative emphases of law enforcement.
?¦Policies of other components of the criminal justice system (e.g., prosecutorial, judicial, correctional, and probational).
?¦Citizens??™ attitudes toward crime.
?¦Crime reporting practices of the citizenry (FBI, 2009).
Criminological Theories and Methodologies
There are many theories associated with crime and criminology. A theory is tool when done accurately and ethically can yield results for the good of society and people who commit crime through restitution and rehabilitation. These theories play active roles in policy making within the criminal justice system. A primary theory is how crime affects the criminal justice system and how punishment should be implemented. The Classical School of criminology is the most widely used theory within society today. The Classical School of criminology??™s main principal is that capital punishment must be humane. On the other hand Positivist criminology Positivist criminology of Cesare Lombroso, Adolphe Quetelet , and Andre Guerry, is that crime can be controlled through human and criminal behavior as well as crime is caused and determined by an individual. Lombroso main contention , however, crime is identified through biological behavior; other researches tend to believe that crime can is linked to sociological and psychological factors. These theories with science have helped to determine the factors that led an individual to a life of crime. Individual Trait is another theory used to evaluate criminal behavior in people, this theory tends to differential criminals and non-criminals behavior toward crime is different based on their biological and psychological personalities when they interact with their social environment (Williams & Mc. Shane, 2009) .
Taking all the various theories into consideration on the causation of crime there may be one of a unified theory ,which is Human Nature Theory. The Human Nature Theory when combined with all the other theories can provide answers to researches as well as societies??™??™ concerns of crime causation. Human Nature Theory when entwined with factors, such as strain, social learning, and social disorganization can be a reason people who commit crime see crime as a mean of survival, and are reasons for crime causation. Researchers using this theory of Human Nature will base their research on variables, and methodologies to confirm their findings. Researchers will base their assumptions of the Human Nature Theory that people commit crime because of a breakdown in social community beliefs and value system, lack of disorganization and social control. Moreover, another assumption would be social strain and interaction between criminals and non-criminals contribute to the causation of crime within certain impoverished communities, and lack of the essential basic needs of employment, housing, and cost of living below the minimum wage. Other factors that is good for researchers to consider in testing the various theories and methodologies of crime for example surveys, observations, and questionnaires to verify the intentional and non-intentional impact of crime causation.
Looking at the current socio-economic situation of the American society, communities around the country are beleaguered with high unemployment rates, homelessness, higher percentage of teenagers who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. School dropouts who do not receive a high school diploma, adult, and gangs, and high levels of victimless crimes are real life indicators that an individual will do anything, even crime as a means of survival.
Federal Bureau of Investigations (2009). Variables Affecting Crime-Crime in the United States. Retrieved July 15, 2012 from http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/about/Variables_affecting_crime.html
Samenow,E.S.,(1994). Inside the Criminal Mind,( New York: Crown Business,1984) pp. 20-22. Retrieved July 14, 2012 from http://www.ezinearticles.com/A-Classical-View-Why-Do-People-Commit-Crimes&id=782363
Schmalleger, F.,(2009).Criminology Today-An integrated Introduction( 4th Ed) Upper Saddle River :Pearson- Prentice Hall pp.118-119.Retrieved July 14, 2012 from http://www.ezinearticles.com/A-Classical-View-Why-Do-People-Commit-Crimes&id=782363
Williams, F.P.,III, & Mc.Shane, M.D.,( 2009). Criminological Theory( 5th Ed). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.