Criminal Behavior

580 Words3 Pages
Criminal law is essentially concerned with the regulation of behaviour. This may involve prohibitions on some kinds of behaviour such as stealing another person’s property or harming them deliberately. Some criminal laws may require a specific action, such as having insurance when driving a car, or complying with regulations. In some instances it is the combination of behaviour with a particular situation that defines a crime such as being drunk in a public place. In others it is the combination of status with behaviour such as the purchase of alcohol by someone under 16 years of age. Illegality covers a multitude of actions, responsibilities, circumstances and statuses and hence the diversity of acts that may be characterised as criminal is considerable. Thus it is impossible to offer a simple explanation of why someone acts criminal. Furthermore, people do not act in an identical fashion. Some people are more prone to self–indulgence; others are more violent in character. The causes of criminal behaviour are complex and multiple. They are multiple because crime does not relate to only one form of action. For instance, the causes that lead a teenager to commit arson may be very different from those that lead an old- age pensioner to fraud. Therefore we should not expect to find a single cause for all types of criminality. RULES The rules which determine whether or not behaviour is criminal are found in legislation passed by Parliament or in decisions of the courts. These form the starting point for understanding crime as they provide the legal definition of criminal acts. These rules may change over time, and the num... ... middle of paper ... ...fferent activities changes over time and legal categories are subject to change. The law in our society is not based on a fundamentalist or absolutist conception of morality but shifts according to changes in public attitudes. This is reflected in political pressure to change legislation that defines crime. Thus over the last 50 years the way in which the law has dealt with drink driving, homosexuality, prostitution and domestic violence has changed. Changes in the public’s tolerance of activities lead to campaigns to criminalise some behaviour and to decriminalise others. For instance, parts of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 aimed to curb the activities of new age travellers and organisers of raves, while lowering from 21 to 18 years the age at which men may lawfully perform homosexual acts in private.
Open Document