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Causes of Crime

by: Kamila Timaul

Causes of Crime CCJ 2002

Kamila Timaul

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In this chapter, you will be introduced to different theories of the causes of crime. These theories include Classical Criminology Theories, Sociological Theories, Biological Theories, and Life Cou...
Law, Crime and the Criminal Justice System
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kamila Timaul on Wednesday August 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CCJ 2002 at Florida Atlantic University taught by in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see Law, Crime and the Criminal Justice System in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University.

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Date Created: 08/31/16
CCJ 2002 ­ UNIT 2 – Causes of Crime Role of Theory  Theory – an explanation of a happening or circumstances that is based on observation,  experimentation and reasoning.  Hypothesis – A possible explanation for an observed occurrence that can be tested by  further investigation  They are testes using the scientific method.  Steps 1. Observation 2. Hypothesis 3. Test 4. Verification 5. Theory 6. Prediction The Brain and the Body  Choices Theories of Crime  Offenders make the choice to commit crime  Offenders weigh the expected costs of offending against the expected benefits of  offending  Swift and certain punishment is the most powerful deterrent to criminal offending  Classical Criminology   Crime is an expression of a person’s rational decision making process  Before committing a crime, a person weighs the benefits of the crime against the  cost of being apprehended.  Cesare Beccaria: “Essays on Crime and Punishments”  Claimed that crime is rational   Pear of punishment can serve as a deterring effect  Punishment should be swift and certain to control crime  Positivism  Criminal behavior is determined by biological, psychological, and social forces  beyond the control of the individual  Cesare Lombroso is the “Father of Criminology”  Crime could be genetically passed down from generation to generation  Criminality is predetermined at Birth  Rational Choice Theory  Before committing a crime, a person acts as a if he/she is weighing the benefits  against the costs  If the perceived benefits are greater that the potentialcosts, the person is more  likely to commit the crime  Genetics – a branch of biology that deals with traits that are passed through generations  Criminologists who study biological theories focus on the effect genes have a  human behavior  Every person’s genetic makeup is determines by genes inherited from his or her  parents   Hormones and aggression – testosterone in males has been linked to criminal behavior.  The Brain   Serotonin – regulates mood, appetite, and memory  Norepinephrine – regulates sleep cycles, and ow one responds to fear, anxiety,  etc.  Dopamine – regulates perceptions of pleasure and reward  Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory  Freud believed that at the unconscious level, all human have criminal tendencies  The id, the ego, and the superego  Social Psychology  How humans relate to and influence one another  Trait Theory   Biological and psychological views of criminality suggesting that antisocial  behavior should be identifies and treated before it manifest itself.  Bad Neighborhoods and Other Economic Disadvantages  Sociological Theories  Social Disorganizations Theory: neighborhoods with high levels of liquor stores and  payday lenders have higher crime rates  Crime is largely a product of unfavorable conditions in certain communities  Developed by Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay  Disorganized zones – certain zones exhibit more crime and the disorganization of  these zones to the breakdown of families, schools, and businesses.  Strain Theory ­ Contend that those who are disadvantage because of poverty or other  factors are more likely to commit crimes because other avenues of “success” have  been closed off Life Lessons and Criminal Behavior  Social Process Theories  Learning Theory – sees crimes as learned behavior , where the “teacher” is  usually a family member or a friend who exposes the “student” to criminal  behavior  Labeling Theory – Contends that if someone is labeled “delinquent” or “criminal” by authority figures, there is a better chance that person will consider himself as  such and continue the criminal behavior   Control Theory – Hirschi’s control theory suggests that social bonds promote  conformity 1. All people have the potential to commit crimes, most are dissuaded  because that care about the opinions of family and peers  Social Process Theory and Public Policy – crime prevention focuses on juvenile  offenders and steering them away from offending and the system  Life Course Theories:  Self­Control Theory – believe that criminal behavior is linked to “low self­ control” a personality trait that is formed before a child reaches that age of 10 and  can usually be attributed to poor parenting  Continuity Theory of Crime  1. Life Course Persistent Offenders – biting at five, skipping school at ten,  steal cars at sixteen 2. Adolescent Limited Offenders – Life of crime is limited to teenage years Link between Drugs and Crime  Models of Addiction  The Medical Model of Addiction  Addicts are not criminals, but mentally or physically ill individuals who  are forced into acts of petty crime to “feed their habit”  The Criminal Model of Addiction  Illegal drug abusers and addicts endanger society with their behavior and  should be punished the same as persons who commit non drug­related  crimes The Chronic Offender  A career criminal  A small group of offenders (approximately 6%) are responsible for a disproportionate  amount of crime (specifically violent crimes)  Habitual offender laws provide harsher sentences for repeat offenders


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