Conclusive research has focused largely on determining the major cause of crime, which has helped develop various schools of thought in the same field. Some of the theories developed have been used for decades and have been evolving in the field of criminology (Owlcation 4). Currently, aspects of anthropology, psychology, biology and social theories are linked together in an effort to understand the criminal mind and actions and behavior. The root question still remains to be what makes an individual commit a crime? Crime is a highly complex entity that cuts across time and race, evolving in different forms thus it cannot be defined in certainty.
Over the years there have been theories that have been developed in relation to crime, which can be categorized into two groups either Biological theories or sociological theories. Both of these theories can be used in seeking an explanation on the causes of crime, however, both have strengths and weaknesses thus there is a thin line separating each. Of the two, I believe the social theory best explain crime.
Some people believe that before committing crime, a person weighs out the pros and cons before carrying out their actions. Both theories explaining the criminal mindset have a similarity in that they all link to an individual perception or action. Sociological theory however focuses on the external entities surrounding an individual. It states that the society under which a person stays or lives create appropriate conditions that influence a person to commit crime (Akers 125). The conditions may be linked either to the family influences, peer groups or friends and also the neighborhood. Advocates for this theory believe that the surrounding shapes the outcome of a person, which to a great extend is true.
Reasons why I believe it explains crime best
One key idea that sociological theory brings out is that most instances criminal behavior is not inborn or inherited from biological parents but rather is forced by circumstances. Logically, it is true given that the community we live in is marred with social differences in terms of either being employed or unemployed, which then determine the living standards. For instance, cities and urban centers experience a lot of crime ranging from robbery to assaults that may even occur in light of day. A critical review at the situation at hand shows that most of the teenagers committing crime do it just to survive. The push factor that is linked to all major crimes is our environment, the social and economic differences that forces some to opt for criminal activities (Akers 127). It can however be argued that it is an individual choice to commit crime given that there are alternatives to address personal issues. However, there are instances that are dire enough to push someone to commit a wrongdoing for survival, but with time it becomes a habit that is within him or her.
Secondly, a survey on the number of criminals within our society is within the low income groups. As discussed above, the society has already created a bridge that separates the rich from the poor. Take for example a child who is born in a poor neighborhood filled with unemployed youths whose occupation is stealing and robbing people. There is a high chance that the kid is likely to follow in the direction of committing crime to survive, although there is always an exception of an alternative outcome that is always rare (Akers 130). On the other hand, kids brought up in a safe neighborhood where the parents are working or have a stable source of income are most likely to turn up okay with little or no cases of being involved in criminal activities. Nevertheless it cannot be true to ping the entire outcome on the neighborhood setting although it contributes a greater percentage towards the outcome. At the same time, peer groups and friends shape the character and traits of an individual. There is always a constant push towards actively participating in what the fellow peers are doing. If by chance the group is made of criminals, there is a push towards committing similar crimes so as to fit in. Thus, it is more likely that the environment shapes the traits.
Moreover, the belief that a person is born a criminal is farfetched, with little evidence that links the genetic codes of a parent’s behavior to commit crime to that of the offspring (Owlcation 10). Additionally, previous analysis conducted shows that if a child is raised right separate from all environmental factors that may trigger involvement in crime chances are that he or she will not be a criminal. It does not matter whether the parents were criminals; all that matters is the surrounding.
In summary, I can argue that social theory best explains the characters or roots of crime in comparison to biological theories, but it also has its downfall. The short comings do not however form a basis to discard the whole idea that the environmental setting determines the character of an individual and is a force behind committing crime. A complete understanding of the whole perception of crime however requires combined analysis of both biological and sociological theories.
Akers, Ronald L. Social Learning and Social Structure: A General Theory of Crime and Deviance. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2011. 122-147.
Owlcation. Three Theories of Criminal Behavior. 06 16 201. 19 04 2018 https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/Three-Theories-of-Criminal-Behavior
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