Causes of Crime

Essay by Dragonlover67College, UndergraduateA, May 2009

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IntroductionWhat is the cause of crime? Many researchers have come up with a variety of reasons of why an individual would commit a crime. Researchers believe that the causes of crime can rely on many different aspects, ranging from one's biochemistry to one's social standing. Researchers try to explain the cause of crime in different ways, such as theoretical approaches (free-will theory and rational choice), biological theories (heredity, psychological and psychobiological explanations (behavioral conditioning and chromosome theory), and sociological theories (neighborhoods and social standing). The cause of crime cannot be narrowed down to one specific theory; there are many different reasons why a person would commit a crime. According to the website, "Throughout history people have tried to explain why a person would commit crimes. Some consider a life of crime better than a regular job - at least until they are caught" (Para. 2).

Theoretical ApproachesTheoretical approaches used when explaining the causes of crime include the "free-will theory" and the "rational choice theory."

According to, the theory of free will is the ability to act or make choices as a free and autonomous being and not solely as a result of compulsion or predestination. In other words, the choice to commit the crime was based solely on the individual wanting to commit the crime on their own free will, without being forced by somebody or something else. The "rational choice" theory falls along the same lines. It is a basically a theory where an individual weighs their pro's and con's of a situation, and feel as if the reward is worth the risk. According to the Austin Peay State University website, "Rational choice theory explains social behavior via the aggregated actions of rational or purposive actors. The actors are rational in the sense that, given a set...