Theories of Crime


Every day we hear about people committing murders, rioting, rapes or robbery, but you ever thought why people commit crime? See crime is not a very new concept of modern world, people are committing crime from ancient period and from time to time philosophers have given different theories about “why people commit crime?”. In this article we will discuss about the different theories of crime. Theories of crimes are something which everyone should know, not only law students and lawyers but laymen should also know about this topic because anyone can become the victim of crime. People are trying to understand crime from a very long time for example, during sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was believed that people who commits crime are possessed by demons or evil spirits. And punishment or the repercussion of the was exorcism and banishment. Exorcism means the process of forcingan evil spirit to leave a person or place by using prayers or magic and banishment is the act of sending someone or something away from a place and not allowing them to come back. Now imagine if I commit a theft in your house and the society thinks that I committed that because I was having no control on myself and some spirit was controlling me, would that be fair to the Victim? Spiritual explanations of crime are part of a general view of life in which many events are believed to be the result of the influence of otherworldly powers. In this theory the method of giving justice was, the accused was subjected to difficult and painful tests from which an innocent person would emerge unharmed whereas a guilty person would die a painful death. For example, a common method of determining whether a woman was a witch was to tie her up and throw her into the water. If she sank she was considered innocent, but if she floated she was guilty. Other forms of ordeal included running a gauntlet and walking on fire. The spirituals explanations of crime are not considered scientific. Criminology is the study of crime and punishments. The criminologists try to find out why crime happen and why people commit crime. They examine the aspects of the crime committed and they also find the ways to stop the crimes in a society. The theories of crimes are divided into four major categories. • Sociological Theory of crime – according to the sociological theory the crime is committed as a result social or cultural forces. According to this theory the criminal is influenced or is in pressure of society. There are many crimes which people commit and they personally don’t want to do it but because the society or the situation forces them or influence them to commit crime. For example, you are staying in a state where majority of youth is unemployed. You have your family to take care off and then someone offers you to commit a crime in return of some consideration. You know that doing it would be wrong but is no other option left for you. Sociology theory is divided into to parts-  Structural theory – this theory emphasize that most people have similar interests but differ dramatically in opportunities to employ their talent in socially admissible ways. The deference between the candidate creates strains among the people and this led them to commit crime. The disorganized and partial social arrangements result in increase of crime rate.  Sub-cultural theory – this theory was emerged in 1900s in Chicago school, according to this theory crime originates when various groups of people adhere to cultural values that are inconsistent with the dominant, general rules of society. On this view, Crime is the product of sub cultural deviation from the agreed upon norms that underline the criminal law. • Biological Theory of Crime – according to the biological theory, the people who commit crime are born criminals, which means that criminals are born and they are different from other people. According to this theory the criminals are physical and mentally distinct from non-criminals. • Psychological theory of crime - psychological theory look at the individual factors such as low self-esteem, inadequate socialization, alcohol and drug abuse, parental neglect and early childhood experience. For example, if someone drinks too much alcohol and then starts assaulting someone than that man is responsible for himself. Here the crime is the result of an immature ego and super ego, which are too weak to control the sexual and aggressive instincts of their own personality. • Socio-psychological theory of Crime – according to this theory, individual and society are interlinked. Socio-psychological theories of crime are divided into two parts –  Control theory – Control theory provides an explanation for how behavior conforms to that which is generally expected in society. According to control theory people don’t behave antisocially unless they learn not to offend through a combination of inner controls and external constraints on their behavior.  Social learning theory – this theory some what contradicts the biological theory, according to the social learning theory the people at birth, have neither a motivation to commit crime nor to conform. Which means that everyone is born the same. The Social learning theory explains about the way’s individuals acquire specific criminal behaviors though different forms of learning. People engage in crime because of their association with others who engage in crime. According to Albert Bandura most human behavior is learning by observation through modeling. And in after observing in future criminals use these observations, they learned from the society to commit a crime. According to me an individual’s choice to commit or not commit a crime is influenced by the fear of punishment. Unless the criminal is committing crime in aggression of revenge, he follows a calculation whereby he examines the perceived costs, rewards, and risks of alternative actions. Criminologists examines any society where crime is happening and they use these theories and come to a way to reduce crime rates.   References-  https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/exorcism  https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/banishment  George B. Vold and Thomas J. Bernard, Theoretical Criminology, 3rd ed., New York: Oxford University Press, 1986, pp. 6–9. 

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