Criminal Behavior Theories

Crime is defined as acts, which are contrary to public policy of societal morality. They are actions that go against the spirit of peace, love and harmony within some setup in the society. In this assignment, a man by the name of Paul is discussed in far as his behavior on crime is concerned. He was born in a humble family and grew up as an innocent man. He did not have a good foundation based on religious education and respect for humanity.

He passed well to join a local university. At this level, he got to socialize with people from different backgrounds. Some of the colleagues took him off the good habits that the society would expect of their son in the city. He got involved in excessive and irresponsible drinking habits, besides being involved in criminal activities bordering on violently robbing innocent citizens on the city highways and suburbs.

After graduation, due to poor economic conditions, he could not secure a decent job, so he continued with the criminal activities. On one fateful event, together with his accomplices, he was cornered, arrested and charged in court for the wrongful acts. The judge delivered a guilty judgment and sentenced him to life imprisonment. He was lucky that the judiciary by then was corrupt and prone to manipulation. Some influential figure in the government secured his release. He went ahead to find him a job as a land administrator with the state’s department of lands.

In the office where he works as a state land administrator, he is even worse now. Only that he does not use force to steal. In this case, he solicits for huge bribes in return for the delivery of service, which the state is supposed to provide free to the citizens who are taxpayers. Paul is still working as a land administrator with the state. He forms the perfect example of a person involved in many crimes in the society at different levels.

The following theories can be used to explain Paul’s actions. There is the institutional anomie theory. This theory indicates that the pressures people or individuals face in the society are due to the state of some cultural and social demands by the society (Hirschi, 1969). It points out that one would strive to achieve what the society views as right regardless of the means used. It also means that some kinds of behavior are caused by the lack of good norms in the society. In Paul’s case, the society is implied to have failed to give good morals as examples or models for Paul to follow easily. Therefore, he followed what he thought to be correct.

The structure of the society is thus very important as it influences an individual’s behavior. With the case of Paul, his observations of the society were composed of many negative things. He could hardly learn anything positive from the society. When one looks around, all that could be seen was irresponsible consumption of alcohol and immoral behavior in the society. As such, the society seems to be in the state of failure. Consequently, this makes Paul unable to identify something good from the society on which he can build on.

In a society where all these negative events unfold on a daily basis, it is so easy for the young ones to follow such footsteps (Merton, 1957). This coupled with poor enforcement of law and order makes up a chaotic society setup whose future seems to be bleak. Therefore, it is the moral breakdown in the society as contained in the theory that can be held to be responsible for the undesirable development of individuals like Paul in the society.

There is also the classical criminology theory. In this theory, it is hypothesized that an individual decides himself/herself whether to commit crime. Paul did exactly that. Despite the absence of the right role models and proper guidance, it is improper for one to choose criminal activities (Blythe, 1992). There exist many right jobs or activities, which one may be engaged in. Therefore, this theory is correct as far as Paul’s behavior is concerned.

The theory observes that it is an individual’s own initiative that he decides to venture into crime. In every society, though there may be many illegal and immoral activities, there are also law enforcement agencies that guide against engagement into crime. There are institutions that would also be willing and ready to assist such individuals against taking part in crime. These would include churches and other charity organizations. Therefore, with the presence of such important correctional facilities, Paul decided to join crime on his own.

The society can be in a huge moral meltdown, but an individual can still stay away and be a law-abiding citizen. Hence, the involvement of Paul for whatever reasons must have been on his agenda. Even if it were that he was coerced, he still had the chance to reject. Therefore, the theory is correct by pointing out that individuals engage in criminal activities, because it is their desire to do so.

The last theory is the strain theory. This observes that the expectations from the society would drive an individual to commit crime. In Paul’s case, the society obviously expects a good life for somebody like him, having been educated to the university level. He therefore could have succumbed to such pressures and bowed to crime as a way of getting quick wealth, which the society would require of him.

This means that the society has some standard level of expectations from its members, and when the members realize that they cannot achieve them, they resort to any other means so that they get them. This is so that they are in conformity with the expectations and live as respected members of the community (Blythe, 1992). In Paul’s case, they obviously expect him to have e decent life having gained university education. Therefore, when Paul failed to secure a job after college, he succumbed to pressure and started to engage in crime for a living. He got used to such quick money. He still uses such means to earn a living.

The society therefore must not have any high expectations from its members. Let allow people try to make it in life by simple means. They should avoid criticizing others who seem to have failed and calling them names (Pennington, 1993). This would make life simple, reduce pressure on the upcoming ones and therefore avoid engaging in such criminal acts. 

The above theories therefore are relevant in explaining the causes of criminal behaviors in the society. They guide the society to be wary of characters or building cultures, which are undesirable as they lead to exertion of unnecessary pressures on the members and hence end up engaging in wrong behaviors like crime. The society therefore is informed on the right cultures and expectations from its members to deter its members from bowing to such pressure and the subsequent engagement in crime.

In order to avert cases whereby many of the society members engage in crime, the society or the authorities must be ready to address the causes of the involvement in criminal activities. The institutional anomie theory indicated that individuals engage in crime because of lack of norms in the society. The society must therefore make deliberate efforts to have good and appropriate norms in the society. This would ensure that as people come up in the community, they are guided by right guidelines on how to live with the rest of the community in harmony without breaching peace and love. There are also right channels of punishing those found guilty of engaging in crime to deter others from following such leads.

The second theory pointed out that individuals decide to engage in crime. The best remedy in this case is to ace stringent law enforcement measures to appropriately apprehend any lawbreakers and criminals, have them face the law and finally they get the right punishment for their crimes (Daube, 1969). This would serve to deliver justice in the society and would prevent crimes from escalating or spreading.

Based on the strain theory, the society must accept its members as they are and not expect too much from them. Those who have not performed as expected should instead be assisted to come to terms and continue with their lives. These theories are thereby relevant as they guide the society to identify the areas they have gone wrong and correct or address them in good time for a prosperous community.

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