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What are the Causes of Crime

What cause individuals to commit certain crimes? Is there a relationship between poverty and committing crimes? Crime happens daily in every part of the world. Everybody in the world commits crime or sin in some way, shape, or form. The daily news and newspaper articles most often contain stories of crime, such as theft, murder, assaults, and most importantly, war crimes. People persistently conduct absurd behaviors and activities, as well as violate social norms in society. A few examples of these absurd behaviors and activities include a Mesa mother, whom attempted to trade her baby for a gun, a robbery at a Sparkle Car Wash, and an attempted robbery at Wal-Mart by an eighty-three-year-old elderly. There is a reason for these absurd behaviors of human beings. However, these reasons are not necessarily easy to define, since each criminal behave with their own distinct and strange motives. To understand the psychological or sociological theory of crimes, one must delve further into the aspects and backgrounds of a criminal. Generally, people commit crimes because of impoverished environment surroundings, low financial or social status, and poor or corrupt judgment, as in white-collar crimes.

Foremost, a recent questionnaire from Mesa Community College students may further explain the reasons for crimes. The following are a graph of the results from the questionnaire:

The results conclude that males are more likely than female to commit crimes. However, both male and female would commit a crime if that individual knew they would evade arrest. Both genders are also not vastly religious. Both genders are likely to succumb to bad influence from people who smoke, drink, or do drugs. The graph does not present results that include other open questions. Instead, there were careful observation and notes on these results; males are less compassionate than females are with their relationships with family members at home. Males and females are equally successful academically at MCC. Although, males and females tend to succumb to bad influences during their childhood life, males are slightly keener to succumb to such influences. These results took place on the campus of Mesa Community College among 30 random students between the ages of 19-25.

First of all, an environment can play a huge role in a person’s behavior and attitude. A person growing up in an environment full of criminal activities, while constantly being exposed to those activities are more likely to behave similarly. On the contrary, a person growing up in an environment surrounded by Christians and religious neighbors are more likely to go to church or conduct good deeds. An example of a stimulating-type environment towards an individual is peer pressure. People who are constantly around friends that abuse drug substances and alcohol will most likely start abusing drugs and alcohol themselves. Many people who do give in to peer-pressure see the actions as a way to fit in and become a part of a group or clique. Most individuals consider being in a clique as part of a family. In addition, it is easy to become victim to peer pressure because it is especially difficult to turn down an offer from a friend. In the media, children who play violent videos or watch R rated television and movies are more likely to succumb to violence. A new study led by Craig Anderson, a professor of psychology in Iowa State University, analyzing 130 research reports on more than 130,000 subjects worldwide, proves conclusively that exposure to violent video games makes more aggressive, less caring [children] -- regardless of their age, sex or culture (Science News). To simplify this finding, the more exposure to violence a teenager receives, the more aggressive he or she may become. In fact, child abuse or abuse in relationships is a major factor for aggressive crimes, such as assault or murder. According to a 2005 study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), maltreatment in childhood increases the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 59% and as an adult by 28% (Mersch). However, there certainly are exceptions to this finding. Adults that encourage their children by teaching them right from wrong may see violence as wrong. This exception requires a supportive authority figure to educate and instruct children to become a well-behaved individual. Thus, the environment surrounding that a person grows up in can truly determine what type of person he or she may develop.

Furthermore, why do people still commit crimes when he or she acknowledges the risk of punishment involved? Most of the time, the risks of crime outweighs the benefits. However, criminals believe differently. Many criminals feel that committing a crime, such as stealing or robbery is the only way out of poverty. They feel that their responsibility to feed his or her family is a moral and honorable matter. Bank robbers and thieves commit crimes to feed their family. They steal because they are lazy and unmotivated. Others steal because they want to save money. These criminals may feel trapped and overwhelmed with life that they have nowhere else to turn to but crime. An individual going through stress may be consequence from a loss of job, relationship abuse, insufficient income, or daily hassles. A person with low financial and social status may feel recluse and alone in the world. However, people who commit street crimes are generally not poor, but middle class people. In fact, street criminals have an income that is close to if not average to the average American income. Poor people are more intelligent to decide against committing crime. Poor or homeless individuals have an understanding that they have practically nothing left in the world; it would be ridicule to take any risk of committing a crime because it would be equivalent to tossing their life away.

Moreover, for wealthy, intelligent criminals, money is a major factor for frauds and identity theft. In fact, identity theft is a massive financial problem for victims. According to Javelin Strategies, a prominent research firm that often reports on identity theft, incidences of the crime increased by 11% from 2008 to 2009 altering the lives of 11 million Americans (Identity Theft). Drug and alcohol abuse is another huge factor in crimes. An exhaustive study which tracked more than 8,000 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and another 3,700 identified as having bipolar disorder over three decades in Sweden found that the abuse of illegal drugs and alcohol caused mentally ill people to perpetrate crimes of murder, manslaughter and sexual violence (Ramesh). The study shows that drug abuse emits feelings of anger and hostility. Moreover, what is an easy and quick way to make lots of money? Drug dealing is the answer for a risky, but profitable way of living. Generally, a kilo of cocaine costs anywhere from $12,000 to $35,000 (How Much). However, not many criminals go far in the business of drug dealing. Police officers incarcerate drug dealers and drug traffickers all around the world. They are intelligent in arresting drug addicts and criminals mainly because of their experience in detecting drugs. Are poor people more likely to commit crimes than rich people are? It is easy to assume that the answer to this question is yes, but that would be incorrect. If the crimes are street crimes, then the answer would be yes, but the question is considering all crimes, therefore the answer is most definitely no.

Moreover, people of the low class do not necessarily cause crimes, nor do they cause the most crimes. Statistics have revealed that crimes, such as stealing, theft, or robbery are the most committed street crimes and the less challenging for authorities to capture individuals who commit them. Consequently, the only crimes available to the poor are the severely sanctioned “street crimes”: rape, murder, theft, and mugging (Siegel). However, rich and upper class people commit the most challenging crimes for authority to take into custody; these crimes are white-collar crimes. White-collar crime is a rising concern that is widely ignored throughout the world. Members of the middle class cheat on their taxes and engage in petty corporate crime (employee theft), acts that generate social disapproval but are rarely punished severely (Siegel). Rich people make poor judgment by ignoring and violating safety rules or by enacting their own set of harmful policies that will increase the risks of killing employees. However, it is extremely difficult to arrest criminals of white-collar crimes because the criminals, themselves, may suggest that they had no knowledge about the safety rules implied.

Furthermore, people who steal most likely took the opportunity that was available. A murderer may kill because of hatred, resentment, or anger. A thief may steal because of financial issues, laziness, or other sociological and psychological problems. An opportunity to steal is when an individual attempts to steal only when an authority figure is unaware or not present during the thieves’ actions. For example, shoplifters attempt to steal only when there are no workers or customers nearby. Given the opportunity, anybody is capable of committing crime. In the article, The Color of Crime, it states that “blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery” (The Color of Crime). In the cases of street crimes, this statistic is true. Murder, robbery, theft are definitions of street crime.

In conclusion, if an individual knows that he or she will evade arrest, that individual will most likely commit crime. In that moment, only the individual have the courage and confidence to commit a certain crime. An individual may feel confident in their abilities to thrive and escape, while outweighing both the risks and benefits on the situation. A criminal may or may not weight the outcomes before committing a crime. Intelligent criminals plan a crime beforehand, while other crimes are an act in the heat of passion. Sometimes, criminals do not outweigh the costs; they are just unconcerned whatsoever about the consequences that can transpire. Teenagers and other individuals commit street crimes because they want to be different. Crimes, such as street racing, auto thefts, and graffiti can be joyous for individuals. Other more serious crimes are committed in the heat of passion. In the moment of a murder, the murderer does not think before acting. Crime may be committed out of the ordinary, without any thought or it may be committed with great consideration, as in most robberies; however each criminal commit’s a crime for their own purpose. These purposes are extremely difficult to define and explain. It is best to the leave the question “why?” for criminals to explain during their court trials and their stay in prison.

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