Criminology: Crime Concepts and Theories

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In legal terms, crimes are acts or omissions that are prohibited by law and can be punished either by fine or imprisonment. The common examples of crime are murder, robbery, tax payment failure, child neglect, rape, and others. However, the key understanding of crime lies in the identification of what the above-listed examples have in common instead of separating them into specific categories.

Criminality

Criminality is a particular profile of an individual that causes the cruelest or alarming types of crimes. Given the fact that every criminal behaviour is linked to the use of force, stealth, or fraud, criminality is a style of behaviour that requires the self-centeredness alongside with being indifferent to the needs and sufferings of others as well as low levels of self-control (Crime and Criminality, n.d., p. 2). Because criminality can often bring instant gratification through simple strategies, impulsive and uncontrolled individuals find criminality a very appealing type of behaviour. The strategies involved in the planning of the criminal act are thrilling and risky; however, they rarely require any significant skills. Thus, psychologically, criminals differ from ordinary citizens because the majority ordinary citizens commit at least one mild legal crime during their lives. However, the majority of legal crimes are committed by individuals that can be characterized by the criminality behaviour style.

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Causes of Crime

Crime has a strong correlation with the male gender and young age, as well as with the early involvement in crime activities that usually causes further involvement. On the other end of the spectrum, such factors as inequality, poverty, improper socialization, and the availability of various criminal opportunities are also closely linked to criminal activities. However, these variables are hard to determine because many of them are correlated and interchangeable. For instance, racial discrimination along with poverty largely affect the African American population that is also characterized by the disproportionate rates of criminal behaviour (Crime and Criminality, n.d., p. 9). Thus, it is impossible to determine which particular variable is the direct reason for criminal activities. Moreover, there is no unified theory that has been developed on this matter.

Crime Causes Theories

The primary theories on causes of crime can be divided into biological, developmental, psychological, sociological, geographic, and economic. The biological theories of crime are focused on the idea that the genes, the factors of evolution and brain structure have a strong influence on the individual’s criminal behaviour. The developmental theory of crime explains crime as a consequence of the process of development that starts before the individual’s birth and proceeds throughout the lifespan (Ministry of Justice, 2009, p. 2). The psychological theory puts an importance on examining the relationships between the criminal behaviour and the personality of an individual as well as the surrounding social factors. According to the majority of psychological theories on crime, the role played by parents in the individual’s development is the fundamental factor that influences any criminal propensities. The sociological theories about crime suggest that the relationships between various social structures like ethnicity, race, or culture are determinant of the individual’s criminal behaviour. The geographic theories of crime focus on examining and analyzing the data about how crime is distributed geographically. Lastly, the economic theories about crime are based on the concepts that individuals respond to the various costs and opportunities for criminal behaviour. The economic theories explore the costs of crime and the possible benefits such as the economic conditions (Ministry of Justice, 2009, p. 4).

References

Crime and Criminality. (n.d). Web.

Ministry of Justice. (2009). Strategic Policy Brief. Theories of the Causes of Crime. Web.

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