In Chapter 2, we reviewed some of the challenges that arise in trying to define ‘crime’. For practical purposes, however, we found that we needed to work within the conventional definition of criminal acts, mainly because that is the basis on which the criminal justice system operates. In Chapter 3, we reviewed evidence on the correlates of crime, and variables that can be identified as closely associated with it, some of which are regarded as ‘risk factors’ for criminal involvement. In this chapter, we will look more closely into debates on the ‘causes of crime’ and consider some important questions. Do structural factors such as unemployment, poverty or inequality play a part in criminal acts? Do rates of crime vary from one place to another, and if so what could be the reasons for that? What, if any, is the role of genetic factors in crime? Does crime run in families, and if so is that a result of inheritance or of some aspect of parenting? Are there criminal personalities? Do individuals make deliberate, calculated decisions to commit offences, or are offences the result of instant, spurof- the-moment decisions that go badly wrong; or some mixture of the two?
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Explaining Crime: Theories and Perspectives
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number