By Steven Briggs
Part of the Criminology For Dummies Cheat
In criminology, examining why people
commit crime is very important in the
ongoing debate of how crime should be
handled and prevented. Many theories
have emerged over the years, and they
continue to be explored, individually and
in combination, as criminologists seek the
best solutions in ultimately reducing types
and levels of crime. Here is a broad
overview of some key theories:
Rational choice theory: People
generally act in their self-interest and
make decisions to commit crime after
weighing the potential risks
(including getting caught and
punished) against the rewards.
Social disorganization theory: A
person’s physical and social
environments are primarily
responsible for the behavioral choices
that person makes. In particular, a
neighborhood that has fraying social
structures is more likely to have high
crime rates. Such a neighborhood may
have poor schools, vacant and
vandalized buildings, high
unemployment, and a mix of
commercial and residential property.
Strain theory: Most people have
similar aspirations, but they don’t all
have the same opportunities or
abilities. When people fail to achieve
society’s expectations through
approved means such as hard work
and delayed gratification, they may
attempt to achieve success through
Social learning theory: People develop
motivation to commit crime and the
skills to commit crime through the
people they associate with.
Social control theory: Most people
would commit crime if not for the
controls that society places on
individuals through institutions such
as schools, workplaces, churches, and
Labeling theory: People in power
decide what acts are crimes, and the
act of labeling someone a criminal is
what makes him a criminal. Once a
person is labeled a criminal, society
takes away his opportunities, which
may ultimately lead to more criminal
Biology, genetics, and evolution: Poor
diet, mental illness, bad brain
chemistry, and even evolutionary
rewards for aggressive criminal
conduct have been proposed as
explanations for crime.
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Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus
Temi Badmus is a Food scientist and an Art enthusiast. Her desire is to give a listening ear to people and to give an opportunity for everyone to be heard. Has any one told you that you are special? Yes, you are. You were beautifully designed, you are relevant to this generation and very special to me. Connect with me on LinkedIn


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