What are the Sociological Contentions about the Causes of Crime?


Sociological Contentions about the Causes of Crime

A sociologist has his own perception of looking at human behaviour. He does not ignore personality traits but lays stress on learning and acquired aspects of behaviour. Crime is also one aspect of individual behaviour. The analysis of criminal behaviour should therefore focus on the following facts (Gibbons, 1977: 244-46):

1. Learning of values, attitudes, and behaviour patterns depends upon the process of socialisation and interpersonal associations. It is therefore meaningful to approach individual’s crime by paying attention to his collection of social roles picked up from the


2. The etiological process that leads to criminalistic role behaviour involves a number of causal variables, i.e., criminal behaviour is the product of multiple causation.

3. Situations which block the achievement of goals contribute much to crime and delinquency.

4. Almost every person indulges in petty law violation in his lifetime and also entertains deviant and criminalistic motives; but criminals are persons who play criminalistic roles ‘heavily’, i.e., are involved in serious acts of law-violation and are, therefore, identified by society as criminals or delinquents.

Individuals who engage in petty and isolated acts of deviance are also sometimes labelled as law-violation. Both are ‘criminals’ because they are so labelled by the official machinery of social control.


5. Crimes of a large number of criminals are not premeditated but are the result of situational pressures.

6. Male and female criminals and juvenile and adult offenders require different approaches in their motivational mechanisms for committing crimes.

7. There are character variations among criminals. The variations are both in their social characteristics as well as in deviant behaviour. Also, there are some persons who consider themselves as criminals but there are many who have no self-image as a criminal.

8. Criminals play not only anti-social role but also many social roles as husband, father, employee, and so on.


9. Variations in societal reactions to criminality of different kinds as well as punitive handling determine continuation in criminality.

10. More the laws in society, more the police becomes ineffective. Thus, excessiveness of laws and ineffectiveness of police increase criminality.

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