Personal factors of crime

It is said that a person inherits many traits from his parents through heredity and some of these traits become the cause of his criminal activity. However, it is also said that the raw material carried by the germ plasm is moulded by social environment and greatly modified by social experiences.

Thus, it is established that heredity endows man with potentialities and imposes limits upon his development as well as behaviour. Human personality emerges out of the interaction of heredity with many factors in man’s life-both personal and environmental.

Personality, which ultimately determines human behaviour, is composed of sentiments, ideas, attitudes, beliefs, values, skills, styles, intelligence, will-power, habits, and so forth.


The inherited characteristics may depend on germ plasm but the acquired traits are not inherited. And the development of personality depends upon both the inherited and the acquired traits. The cultural traits based on the discoveries of science and the achievements of the arts are transmitted to persons through the process of education and learning. A man has the capacity to benefit by these processes.

It is difficult to say how much a human being is the product of heredity and how much of the environment. Many of the hereditary qualities remain latent and there is no method to identify them. A normal person carries both latent as well as manifest traits. Certain characteristics in one individual may be found inherited but environmental in another.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that some inherited characteristics appear only gradually through the process of maturation. In view of these facts, we may hold that personal factors in a human being have in them a bit of both heredity and environment, and both are present in an individual in indeterminable proportions.