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Crime Theories


Crime Theories Causes of Crime ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Crime Theories

Crime Theories
  • Causes of Crime

Focus Question
  • Why do people commit crimes?

Causes of Crime
  • Scholars and the public support various types of
    theories and policies when it comes to what
    causes crime
  • Truly we know little about the TRUE causes of
    crime, but many people think they have the
  • Leads to several theories of crime
  • Theories provide basis for new public policies
    aimed at preventing crime

Two Schools of Thought
  • Classical Criminology
  • Positivist Criminology
  1. Criminal behavior is rational, and most people
    have potential to engage in such behavior
  2. People may choose to commit crime after weighing
  3. Fear of punishment is what keeps people in check
  4. Punishment should fit the crime
  5. CJ System should be predictable, with laws known
    by public
  • Human behavior is controlled by physical, mental,
    and social factors, not by free will.
  • Criminals are different from non-criminals
  • Science can be used to discover the causes of
    crime and to treat deviants

Biological Theory
  • Major Premise
  • Actions to Fix
  • Genetic, biochemical, or neurological defects
    cause some people to commit crime
  • 1. use of drugs to inhibit biological urges of
    sex offenders
  • 2. use of controlled diet to reduce levels of
    antisocial behavior caused by chemical imbalances
  • 3. identification of neurological defects
    through CAT scans. Use of drugs to suppress
    violent impulses
  • 4. Special education for those with learning

Psychological Theories
  • Major Premise
  • Actions to Fix
  • Personality and learning factors cause some
    people to commit crime
  • 1. Psychotherapy and counseling to treat
    personality disorder
  • 2. Behavior modification strategies, such as
    electric shock and other negative impulses, to
    change learning behavior
  • 3. Counseling to enhance moral development
  • 4. Intensive individual and group therapy

Social Structure Theory
  • Major Premise
  • Actions to Fix
  • Crime is the result of underlying social
    conditions such as poverty, inequality, and
  • 1. Education and job-training programs
  • 2. Urban redevelopment to improve housing,
    education, and health care.
  • 3. Community development to provide economic

Social Process Theory
  • Major Premise
  • Actions to Fix
  • 1. Youth programs that emphasize positive role
  • 2. Community organizing to establish
    neighborhood institutions and bonds that
    emphasize following societys norms
  • 3. Program designed to promote family stability
  • Crime is normal learned behavior and is subject
    to either social control or labeling effects

Critical Theories
  • Major Premise
  • Actions to Fix
  • Criminal definitions and punishments are used by
    some groups to control other groups
  • 1. Development of programs to remove injustice
    in society
  • 2. Provisions of resources to help women,
    minorities, and the poor in dealing with the
    criminal justice system and other government
  • 3. Modification of criminal justice to deal
    similarly with crimes committed by upper class
    members and crimes committed by lower class

Life Course Theory
  • Major Premise
  • Action to Fix
  • Offenders have criminal careers that often begin
    with pathways into youth crime but can change and
    end through turning points in life.
  • 1. Policies to reduce entry pathways associated
    with youth incarceration and substance abuse
  • 2. Policies to promote educational success, full
    employment, successful marriages, and stable