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Why People Commit Crime. Maybe it’s. By Charles Feer Department of Criminal Justice Bakersfield College. What is a Crime. Social definition: Behavior that violates the “norms” of society. “Antisocial Behavior”

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why people commit crime

Why People Commit Crime

Maybe it’s

By Charles FeerDepartment of Criminal JusticeBakersfield College

what is a crime
What is a Crime
  • Social definition:
  • Behavior that violates the “norms” of society. “Antisocial Behavior”
  • “Norm” is any standard regarding what human beings should or should not do, think or say.
crime defined
Crime Defined
  • There is no uniform code of morality accepted by all of society.
  • Examples: Attitudes regarding gambling, prostitution, abortion, homosexual behavior.
crime defined cont
Crime Defined cont.
  • Legal definition:
  • An act or failure to act when required to do so, that is a violation of the criminal law, committed without defense or excuse and penalized by the government.
what is a theory
What is a Theory?
  • Part of an explanation; of
  • A statement about a relationship between two classes of phenomena; which
  • Provides a better understanding.
a criminal theory
A Criminal Theory
  • Explains why or how certain things are related to criminal behavior.
    • Some theories assume that crime is a part of human nature.
    • Such theories explain how human nature is related to crime.
types of theories
Types of Theories




Social – Psychological



We have no idea why

classical free will
Classical / Free Will
  • Crime is caused by the individual exercise of free will.
  • Prevention is possible through swift and certain punishment.
  • Punishment offsets the gain from the crime.
lack of punishment
Lack of Punishment
  • When the gains are greater than the punishment.
  • Example: Community Service
  • “Criminal Genes”
  • “Chromosomes”“X” and “Y” Patterns
  • Criminals are identified through physical characteristics or genetic composition.
  • Treatment is thought to be ineffective, but aggression may be usefully redirected.
  • Crime is the result of negative early childhood experiences or the product of a desire to be caught.
  • Treatment necessitates extensive therapy.
social psychological
Social - Psychological
  • Crime results from the failure of self-direction or inadequate social roles.
  • Treatment requires strengthened “self” concepts.
  • Crime is a natural consequence of Social, Political and Economic inequities.
  • The “Haves vs. Have Nots”
differential association
Learning theory:

The passing on of information and custom.

A person becomes a criminal dependent upon “the company they keep.”

Learning includes:

Techniques of committing the crime.

Specific direction of motives, drives, rationalization and attitudes.

Differential Association
  • The source of criminal behavior is unknown, but available through case studies and detailed description of deviant life-styles.
  • Treatment requires a total reorientation of the offender.
five general types of punishment used in the u s
Five General Types of Punishment used in the U.S.
  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Intermediate Sanctions
  • Imprisonment
  • Death
my theory
My Theory
  • Blame it all on rock and roll.

Chosen One

Complicated Shadows

Blood is Thicker