Why People Commit Crimes
Crime has been shown to have huge direct and indirect costs to the society both in terms of physical property, lives and health. Efforts to control crime via the judicial system have not always yielded results. Essentially, there are different perspectives that explain why people adopt criminal behavior including classical theory, biological, psychobiological, sociological, and interactionist theory.
The classical theory of crime postulates that people develop criminal behavior out of free will. The theory also holds that humans are rational in their choices and have a clear understanding of their moral or immoral actions. Crime is hence seen as an immoral action that if left unaddressed will weaken the society. As this theory points, crime is best prevented by instituting harsh punishments, ensuring that punishments are certain and swift and construction of more incarceration facilities.
Another perspective, biological crime theory, holds that crime is directed by genetic disposition of an individual. In line with this, the theory holds that traits of crime are inherited. Criminal behavior in this case is inherent in human DNA, hormones, body chemistry, and physical trauma. Following these lines of argument, criminal behavior is best eradicated or prevented by discontinuing a life line through sterilization or gene replacement.
On its part, psychobiological theory of crime on the other hand attributes crime to vitamin deficiencies, chromosomal anomalies, reactions to foods and other environmental allergies. These factors combined with genetic makeup tend to make people vulnerable to development of criminal behavior. Use of antipsychotic drugs and other types of mood-altering drugs can help control criminal behavior as defined under this theory.
Sociological theory of crime attributes criminal behavior social environment in which one is brought up in. Environments that are characterized by broken or weak bonds in relation to social units are more likely to cultivate criminal behavior. Social conditions such as poverty and family violence are good examples of catalysts to criminal behavior according to this theory. In addition, the theory holds that individuals engage in criminal behavior since they do not see any value in adhering to convectional social norms and view crime as a way of improving social conditions. Thus, according to the theory, establishing positive alternatives such as social programs may help divert people from criminal behavior.
The interactionist theory of crime holds that criminal behavior is a product of associations with others. Individuals who do not have clear self-direction or adequate social role are more likely to engage in criminal behavior especially if they are fond of interacting with criminals. According to this theory, offenders have the ability and the responsibility to engage in meaningful social activities and to control their behavior. In addition, the theory suggests the need for creating opportunities that harness positive interactions to enable would be criminals and/or criminals to change their behavior and embrace productive ways of living.
In conclusion, the reasons as to why people develop criminal behavior may vary depending on the perspective that one adopts. The classical perspective holds that people engage in crime out of free-will as they are capable of making rational choices. Biological perspective on the other hand believes that criminal behavior is genetically inherited while psychobiological perspective attributes such behavior to genetic makeup combined with chromosomal anomalies and environmental allergies. Sociological perspective blames criminal behavior on the social environment that one lives in and interactionist perspective sees criminal behavior as a product of the associations that one makes in the society.