“Society prepares the crime; the criminal commits it”
- Henry Thomas Buckle
By the twenty-first century criminologists looked to a wide range of factors to
explain why a person would commit crimes. There are certain factors
in our societies, cultures (family values), system (educational, political,
law-enforcement…), economy, and so on that endorse the potential of criminal
activities of an individual. Usually a combination of these factors is behind a
person who commits a crime reasons for committing a crime include greed,
anger, jealously, revenge, or pride. Some people decide to commit a crime
and carefully plan everything in advance to increase gain and decrease risk.
These people are making choices about their behavior; some even consider a life
of crime better than a regular job—believing crime brings in greater
rewards, admiration, and excitement—at least until they are caught.
Others get an adrenaline rush when successfully carrying out a dangerous
crime. Others commit crimes on impulse, out of rage or fear. In this article I
will discuss few root social causes of committing a crime and some
methods of discouraging the choice of crime. I have chosen only social causes,
because from my point of view people are good by default, only the social factors
create the criminals.
Root causes of committing a crime
1.Poor parenting skills
Children who are neglected or abused are more likely to commit crimes later in
life than others. Similarly, sexual abuse in childhood often leads these victims to
become sexual predators as adults.
Fatherlessness is also one of underestimated cause of crime.
- Peer influence
A person’s peer group strongly influences a decision to commit crime. For
example, young boys and girls who do not fit into expected standards of
academic achievement can sometimes become lost in the competition.
Children of families who cannot afford adequate clothing or school supplies can
also fall into the same trap. Researchers believe these youths may abandon
schoolmates in favor of criminal gangs, since membership in a gang earns respect
and status in a different manner. In gangs, antisocial behavior and criminal
activity earns respect and street credibility. Like society in general, criminal
gangs are usually focused on material gain. Gangs, however, resort to
extortion, fraud, and theft as a means of achieving it.
- Drugs and alcohol
Some social factors pose an especially strong influence over a person’s
ability to make choices. Drug and alcohol abuse is one such factor. The
urge to commit crime to support a drug habit definitely influences the
decision process. Both drugs and alcohol impair judgment and reduce
inhibitions (socially defined rules of behavior), giving a person greater courage to
commit a crime. Deterrents such as long prison sentences have little
meaning when a person is high or drunk.
- Income and education
Many prisoners could not read or write above elementary school levels, if at all.
The most common crimes committed by these inmates were robbery,
burglary, automobile theft, drug trafficking, and shoplifting. Because of
their poor educational backgrounds, their employment histories consisted
of mostly low wage jobs with frequent periods of unemployment. People must
make a choice between long-term low income and the prospect of profitable
crime. Gaining further education, of course, is another option, but classes can be
expensive and time consuming. While education can provide the chance to
get a better job, it does not always overcome the effects of abuse, poverty,
or other limiting factors.
- TV violence
Another factor many criminologists consider key to making a life of crime
easier is the availability of handguns in society. Many firearms used in crimes are
stolen or purchased illegally (bought on what is called the “black market”).
Firearms provide a simple means of committing a crime while allowing offenders
some distance or detachment from their victims. By the beginning of the twenty-
first century firearm use was the eighth leading cause of death in the world.
Similarly, the increased availability of free information on the Internet also makes
it easy to commit certain kinds of crime. Web sites provide instructions on how to
make bombs and buy poisons. Easy access, however, will not be the primary
factor in a person’s decision to commit a crime. Other factors—biological,
psychological, or social—will also come into play.
- Hot weather
Studies have suggested that warmer temperatures boost aggression
hormones such as epinephrine and testosterone. It has long been known
by police officers that cold winter nights.
By Nailah John
President of LOVNSVG