A person might find him- or herself interested in discovering what it is that makes a criminal take the path that he or she does. Is it a personal choice? Coincidence? Circumstance? What exactly is it that starts an individual down a pathway that leads to a criminal life or leads them down a path towards "normal" life within the law? Criminology, or the study of the scientific factors behind criminal behavior, points to the answer of that. As is typical with most sciences, however, there is no one, conclusive answer to all or any of these questions. The field of criminology is loaded with a variety of theories, each with a probability of being true, but none is believed to be the standalone explanation of the total science of the study of criminal behavior.
When delving into the various theories under the umbrella of criminology, one must research and gain knowledge about each idea to understand how it stands alone and among all of the theories. These should be compared against each other to determine what similarities they may have, which overlap and strengthen the foundations of understanding criminal behavior. Then they shall be examined for contrasting points, which distinguish and possibly prove weaknesses within the theories. Doing so can help criminologists determine the accuracy and credibility of the theories and help achieve a deeper knowledge of criminals and antisocial behaviors.
There are a number of existing criminological theories and angles, which criminologists develop and study to answer many of the questions raised about the origin of crime. Two major theories have been chosen for discussion in-depth within this paper: the Trait Theory and the Developmental (or life-course) Th...
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Farrington, D. (2006). Developmental and life course criminology: key theoretical and empirical issues. Criminolgy, 41(2), 221-256. doi: EBSCHOhost
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Simons, R. L., Johnson, C., Conger, R. D., & Elder Jr., G. (1998). A test of latent trait versus life-course perspectives on the stability of adolescent antisocial behavior. Criminolgy, 36(2), 217-243. doi: EBSCHOhost
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