Exploring the Intricacies of Criminology and Crime Theories

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Introduction: Criminology is a scientific approach to the study of crime and why it occurs. Criminologists examine this both on the individual and on the societal level. Meaning, why do individuals commit crime, and how society reacts to those crimes. As we look at the root causes of crime, we begin to notice certain aspects of people’s lives that causes them to offend - like a poor social standing, or perhaps an individual’s peer group who may allow or even support negative influences. We can also try to understand why some individuals choose NOT to offend and live pro-social lives despite negative external influences. These concepts and ideas are known as crime theories. There are many and they are wide-ranging. Summary of two Theories: …show more content…

Robert Merton explains that because there is such a large emphasis on financial success and achieving the “American Dream”, these societies that suffer from strain are put under enormous pressures to obtain these goals. The only issue is that the lower class does not always have the means of obtaining that success. This problem instills frustration and anger into people and so one response is to turn to crime as an alternate pathway to achieving success. For example, an individual who has been unemployed for a long period of time might commit robbery or theft in need of fast money to pay bills or put food on the table. Therefor we can conclude that certain stressors can increase the likely hood into social behavior and therefor decrease the fear of the punishments of those actions. Robert Agnew proposes another aspect of strain known as General Strain Theory. This theory suggest that other sources of strain exist besides financial stressors. Strain may also result from other aspects of life such as loss of a significant other or other traumatic or life altering events. It’s these events that trigger reactions in some individuals who may have displayed a history of pro-social behavior to consider criminal activity as an outlet from the pressures of these external …show more content…

We can only tell the amount of offenders that are not deterred because of the amount of criminals caught by the police. There is no way to know the amount of people who are actually deterred from crime because they never end up offending. So we can assume that most people refrain from offending because of deterrence, but we cannot exclude other factors which keep people away from crime. Moral values is one example; individualized personality traits which most people pick up from their parents or develop on their own can have a huge impact on whether or not people choose to offend. Strain theory may involve some assumptions of demographics about those offending that might not be true. During my research, I noted the theory refers to primarily the economically challenged. In my opinion, this theory could apply just as easily to the wealthy to commit some white-collar crime. So I conclude that strain can and will exist everywhere, wherever there are people enduring hardships there will be those who choose criminal activity as a method to attain goals otherwise achieved through legitimate

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that criminology is a scientific approach to the study of crime and why it occurs, and how society reacts to it.
  • Explains that deterrence theory involves a commonly held belief about human nature and is at the heart of classical criminology.
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