The Causes Of Crime

The causes of crime seem to be indefinite and ever changing. In the 19th century; slum poverty was blamed, in the 20th century, a childhood without love was blamed (Adams 152). In the era going into the new millenium, most experts and theorists have given up all hope in trying to pinpoint one single aspect that causes crime. Many experts believe some people are natural born criminals who are born with criminal mindsets, and this is unchangeable. However, criminals are not a product of heredity. They are a product of their environment and how they react to it. This may seem like a bogus assumption, but is undoubtedly true.
There is a study devoted to finding the causes of crime and what makes people criminals. This study is appropriately called criminology. There are two main theories which criminologists categorize causes of crime, and sometimes an individual would be subject to both their influences. Theories in the first group locate the causes of crime inside the individual, which focus on stress and other psychological factors. Conversely, theories categorized in the second group focus the causes of crime on factors that are out of the control of the certain individual. These influences are sociological.
Some psychologists theorize that criminals are born with a predisposition towards mental illness. Even though this is a widely accepted idea, for a mental illness to come out, it has to be catalyzed by the person\'s environment. In other words, even if a person were born with the biological makings of a criminal, depending on how he was raised and how he lived life would determine if this inherent attribute would manifest. There needs to be an external cause to trigger the characteristic.
Many criminologists are stuck on developing biological explanations to the make-up of criminals. These theories are often called "bad seed" theories. They hold that criminals are born and not developed. The most recently discovered "bad seed" theory is that some men are born with an extra Y chromesone that makes them more aggressive (Adams 157). The problem with this theory is if one of these men with the extra chromosome was raised in a way that would inhibit the individual\'s trait, you would never see the characteristics of this extra chromosome and it would just devalue this theory. Another problem with this theory is that there are criminals who just happen to be women and there is no way that you could tie this theory in with the behavior of women criminals. Women do not have Y-chromosomes. They simply have a pair of X\'s.
The second category of explanations for criminal behavior based solely on a human\'s environment is the theory that receives the most credit, and obviously is backed by the most truth. Endless examples and mountains of proof back this environment theory. To further bash the first category, all of its components are only brought out by their environment. While the level of stress a person can handle is an inherent part of their make-up, how they react to that stress is a learned attribute. Not only reactions to the stress are varied on different social structures, but the types and levels of stress vary as well. For example, a violent minded child who is not capable of dealing with stress well could be born into a rich family and experience no frustrations. On the other hand, if a calm child were born into an abusive environment, he would have a better tendency to snap because of the levels of stress he experiences in that environment.
A quite popular idea is that a person\'s childhood has the greatest influence on their personality and their moral standards. As stated by Patrick Crispen in Criminal Minds, a child\'s morals are learned and set by the age of ten years old (67). Also stated in Criminal Minds, is the assumption that a sixth-grade teacher could look at a class of students and determine who will be successful, who will be a "trouble-maker", and so forth (70). This is a deeper example of how personality traits are developed at an early age.
Parents play the most crucial role in the development of a child\'s life. Children learn by example. Through the examples that the parents set, criminal behavior