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Theories of Crime: Short Explanations

Short explanation of Theories of Crime

Criminal activity is part of the society but it is not a normal behavior. It is a vice that leads to punishment when one is discovered. Though theories of crime are many and diverse, they are never in total disagreement!

Theories of Crime

Theories of Crime

The punishment is expected to prevent the person from committing crime again. Unfortunately, some people persist even after they complete the punishment.

Criminology focuses on issues of crime. As a way of getting a reason why people commit crime, sociologists have proposed theories of crime. Some theories say that individuals make a conscious decision to commit crime.

Others blame the society. They say it is responsible for its members and it should keep them from committing crime.

It is easy to prevent people from committing crime after the reason for committing crime is established. Regardless of the reason people commit crime; justice should be put in place.

If you want to know how to write a thesis on the theories of crime, it is the same as other thesis. The aim focus is on the types of criminal theories.

  1. Conflict theory

The theory brings out the conflict in the society between the haves and the have-nots. In the first place, the proponents of the theory say that laws arise due to the conflict in the society. This theory is exclusively associated with Karl Marx.

Conflicts arise due to the economic and social forces operating in the society.

They seem to favor the elite and the rich and to protect them from the poor. They dictate what good behavior and acceptable standards are in the society.

Laws that are put in place separate the poor from the rich. The rights of the poor are ignored.

The middle class support the rich in their dictatorship. Since they are close in social class, they associate more with them. In this theory, it is believed that due to the poor being associated with the likelihood of committing crimes, it makes them more prone to committing some types of crimes.

They hope to be in the upper class very soon. This explains why the punishment for small crimes is bigger than those for bigger ones.

  1. Biological positivism

The biological composition of people determines the probability of being criminals or not. Things like hormonal imbalances, deficiencies in vitamin, brain and diet function all contribute to criminal behavior.

It is also argued that some parents have biological traits of crimes. This therefore makes crimes more dominant in the families associated with such parents! Is this really true?

Such theories therefore purport that some people are born criminals. Biological inferiority attributes to the behavior. Is criminality inborn?

  1. Labeling theory

Labeling is giving someone a title that could influence their behavior. In 1960s and 1970s, the theory was very popular and people kept away from negative titles.

People believed that a label had the power to change their behavior. What people expect of others is also believed to determine one’s behavior.

Crime is therefore not pegged on deviance behavior but on the label that one is given. Terms that relate to mental disability, deviance and disability are rejected as they are thought of as leading to negative behavior.

  1. Choice theory

When it comes to theories of crime, choice theory is among the oldest. The theory focuses on the ability of people to make choices.

It proposes that before committing a crime, a criminal looks at the cons and the pros. If the pros are stronger, then they go ahead to commit the crime.

It is like the criminal carries out a cost-benefit analysis before committing the crime. The theory says that people are born criminals but they stay away from crime due to the punishment associated with some crimes.

The main reasons for committing crime according to the theory are to boost their ego. The gains include money, status, and power amongst others.

Criminals pick the date, place, time and other specific details about the crime. These act as evidence that they purposed to commit crime.

  1. Critical theory

Crimes in the society are as a result of opposition against the laws. This is what the theory stands for. The people who oppose the laws fall under the minority group in the society such as ethnic minorities and women.

Rich people in the society come up with the laws as a way to control the rest. The same people define what crime is. In opposition, the poor disobey the law and face the consequences.

  1. Life course theory

Life course theory says that the behavior of individuals is influenced by the events that take place in their lives. It analyzes the life of an individual in the context of society, disease, marriage, engagement in crime and such.

The factors orient the individual into the kind of life they live in the future. Individuals conform to what surrounds them.

Wikipedia defines life course as, “a sequence of socially defined events and roles that the individual enacts over time.” Though the events and roles take time over time, they determine the behavior of an individual.

  1. Positivity theory

Unlike the choice theory, the positivist theory states that individuals commit crime due to factors above them. Criminals have a low intelligence level or they are not socially accepted. Their mental state is found wanting and that is why they perform the crime.

Due to their mental incapability, they are unable to distinguish wrong from right. Other mentally upright people in the society make the decision to obey the law. Their understanding of it enables them to obey. That explains why they do not obey the law.

The mental illnesses can be in form of depression, psychopathic, bi-polar, neuroticism, schizophrenia, and antisocial personality disorder.

  1. Classical Theory

It is very similar to the choice theory. You cannot fail to mention this theory when talking about theories of crime. The classical theory supports that people make informed choices when committing crime. It is not a coincidence or something they cannot control.

On top of that, the theory suggests that citizens of a country are obliged to follow the law of the country. As a result, the government sustains and protects them. For that reason, then criminals are aware that they will be punished when caught.

Theories of crime try to give reason why people engage in criminal activities. The proponents carried out research to come up with the finding. Some information may be incorrect but each of the theories of crime holds some truth it.

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