The Association Between Differential Association Theory and Burglary

Better Essays
This paper will provide an explanation into how differential association theory explains burglary. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) considers burglary a Type 1 Index Crime because of its potentially violent nature. The FBI breaks burglary down into three sub-classifications. This paper discusses the elements of the crime of burglary and what constitutes a structure or dwelling. It will discuss a brief history of the deviance, trends, rates, and how it correlates to the specific theory that this paper will also discuss.
Differential association theory best explains the burglary deviance. There are many principles associated with this type of social learning theory. Edwin Sutherland’s theory discusses how crime is a learned behavior where one’s family, peers, and environment are of great influence. Differential association theory seeks to prove that criminal behavior is learned and this paper will evaluate the connection between the two.
Literature Review
Deviance Literature
Many years ago around the early 1800s, burglary was the breaking and entering of a dwelling during the night for the purpose of committing a felony or a larceny (Bernasco and Luykx, 2003). There were a couple of reasons for this specific definition of burglary. First, as Bernasco put it, breaking is the act of creating an opening into the dwelling by disabling any part of that dwelling meant to serve as a prevention tool against intrusion. Secondly, nighttime was an important element of burglary by common law standards; law-makers viewed people as unable to protect themselves during the middle of the night. Under common law, it was not merely enough to enter a dwelling, the act of breaking had to exist; if the entry occurs through an unlocked door,...

... middle of paper ...

...dual traits or from a person’s socioeconomic position; instead, Sutherland looked at crime as the by-product of a learning process that affects people in all cultures and classes (Siegel, 2012, p. 237). Applying Sutherland’s theory concludes that skills and motives conducive to crime may be learned from a variety of interactions that stem throughout a person’s lifetime.

Works Cited

Bernasco, W. & Luykx, F. (2003). Effects of Attractiveness, Opportunity, and Accessibility to Burglars on Residential Rates of Urban Neighborhoods. Criminology, 41, 981-1002.
FBI. (2010). Crime in the United States. Retrieved from
Friedman, L. (1993). Crime and Punishment in American History. New York: Basic Books.
Siegel, L.J. (2012). Criminology. Belmont: Cengage Learning.
Get Access