Why People Commit Crimes

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Crime is any action that is termed as an offense and any person who commits crime is liable to punishment by law. There are many reason that make people to commit crimes but people always associate situations such as poverty, lack of enough parental care or neglect, drug abuse and lack of self-esteem as major reasons to why people commit crimes.

However, there are major factors that places individuals at risk of committing crimes, the factors can be categorized into four major categories that will examine and explain how biological, socio cultural, psychological, economic and social cultural factors affect the behaviors of individuals and how the factors make them to commit crimes.

Biological factors influence people behaviors in different ways, but depending on the factors a person is exposed to, it can incline an individual to committing criminal activities.

According to Akers (2013), biology, genetics and evolution are primarily responsible for a persons behavior. Factors such as physical body of a person, inherited genes, structure of the brain, hormonal behavior and factors of evolution influences how a person behaves and it might incline a person to commit criminal activities for example, people with malnutrition as a result of poor diet might cause them to steal (Clinard, Quinney & Wildeman, 2014).Conversely, people with neurological deficits, mental illness, low serotonin activity and environmental contaminants rewards for aggressive criminal conduct.

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Additionally, there are specific types of genes that are associated with crimes hence people with such kinds of genes tend to commit crimes.

People Commit Crimes

The society, culture, and ecological system of individuals defines how they behave or make choices especially in the way they do things. A society where there are no strong regulations on crime will encourage individuals to commit crimes (Akers, 2013). People who live in environments with a lot of danger tend to commit crimes. Similarly, overcrowded places increases rates of hostility hence creating opportunities for crimes. Felson and Boba (2010) argues that the ecological system including interaction with people and the type of environment determines peoples behavior and how they commit crimes. According to Levitt and Lamba-Nieves (2011) the routine activities of people in a given society have effects on how crime activities occur for example a society with a lot of crime offenders and little guardianship will have increased number of people committing crimes because people will get motivated by the able offenders of crime.

The social environment that a person gets exposed to and cultural activities that a person engage in determines how he/she will behave and increases the chances of getting involved in criminal activities. According to Clinard, Quinney and Wildeman (2014), people tend to grow inspiration to commit crimes and gain skills for committing crimes through the people they associate with for instance a neighborhood with unravelling social structures such as poor schools or vandalized buildings is likely to have high crime rates. According to Levitt and Lamba-Nieves (2011), a place where there is high population of unemployed people and a mixture of both commercial and residential property will motivate individuals to commit crimes for example stealing through robbery. Felson and Boba (2010) argues that when people have a certain culture for example drug abuse, many will be at risk of committing crimes because they are liable to engage in violence. Conversely, the fact that people are of different cultural backgrounds, there are some actions that are not considered as crimes in some cultures but according to the law they are crimes and people from a certain culture might commit offenses without their consent.

Economic crisis situations for example rise in prices of goods and services, decrease in wages rates, increase in interest rates and high rates of inflation can trigger crimes. Economic stress has been seen to encourage criminal behavior because during such times many people become broke hence encouraging many people to steal coveted properties (Rosenfeld & Messner, 2010). According to Felson and Boba (2010), during better economic times, people tend to engage in criminal activities because they have enough money for buying drugs and alcohol which in most cases leads to violence. Similarly, better economic times calls for high rates of robberies as those who are not well off will get tempted to steal from the rich. It is evident that both economic crisis and better economic times calls for high rates of crimes because the poor are greedy of what the rich have which eventually leads to robberies through stealing.

Psychological factors of a person that includes the development of an individual characteristics and the role the parents played in upbringing a child might make one to commit criminal activities. According to Felson and Boba (2010), inappropriate practices of child-rearing, neglect of parents, parents criminal behaviors, abuse from parents or relatives and lack of supervision can influence the psychology of a person and it might increase the chances of him/her engaging in criminal activities. Additionally, when people live in an anti-social environment they will be affected psychologically and they will tend to make inappropriate choices such as stealing.

From the above it is evident that a number of reasons contributes to occurrence of crimes. People commit crimes because of biological factors that include; genes, hormonal behavior, mental illness, neurological deficiencies, low serotonin activities and the environmental contaminants. The sociocultural factors that make people to commit crimes include; a society with weak regulations and the type of activities that people get involved with. The social and cultural factors that lead people to committing crimes include, the social lives of individuals and the cultural environment they live in. The economic factors include both bad and better economic situations which make people to engage in criminal activities. Finally, psychological factors that include; poor development, parents neglect, abuse, lack of supervision and anti-social environment increases the chances of people engaging in criminal activities.


Akers, R. L. (2013). Criminological theories: Introduction and evaluation. Routledge.

Clinard, M. R., Quinney, R., & Wildeman, J. (2014). Criminal behavior systems: A typology. Routledge.

Felson, M., & Boba, R. L. (Eds.). (2010). Crime and everyday life. Sage.

Levitt, P., & Lamba-Nieves, D. (2011). Social remittances revisited. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies37(1), 1-22.

Rosenfeld, R., & Messner, S. F. (2010). The normal crime rate, the economy, and mass incarceration. Criminology and public policy: Putting theory to work, 45-65.

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Why People Commit Crimes. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-why-people-commit-crimes/

Why People Commit Crimes
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