A crime refers to an omission or action constituting an offence, which may call for a punishment by law or prosecution by the state. Criminologists have tried to look to a number of factors with an aim of explaining why individuals resort to committing crimes. Various factors in society, such as family values, educational, politics, law-enforcement, poverty, and many others support people to commit criminal activities. In most cases, a combination of factors can draw a person towards committing a single crime. Some people may commit crimes because of various reasons, such as greed, jealously, anger, pride, or revenge. Some individuals make wise plans in advance before committing crimes to decrease and increase gain. Such people make choices regarding their behavior, by considering a criminal life as more profitable than legitimate occupations because some criminal activities crime lead to admiration, excitement, and greater rewards. This discussion will consider poverty, youth unemployment, family problems, alcohol and drugs, easy access, inadequate education, peer pressure, and low self-esteem as the factors that draw people towards crime.
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Research has shown that the degree of poverty is directly proportional to the amount of criminal activities that people commit (Siegel 2011). Therefore, there is a likelihood of many criminal incidents in a society where people are extremely poor. People reinvest money in the black market from the open market to give rise to high return in towns and cities, though risky. Such risks are extremely high when violent mob-type gangs and organizations control this activity, whose existences depends on other people’s poverty. Reachable and realistic role models are rare, which make the children in financially poor families to admire those people who belong to well-off families (Siegel 2011).
According to some theories, the financially poor individuals have decided to be poor, and they can be rich if they make wise decisions. For instance, it is apparent that gang- and drug -infested backyards of the contemporary society often invest in their downfall by discouraging an infusion of social and economic relief due to unsavory criminal acts. Therefore, people can bring about insecurity in their societies by committing criminal activities, which may discourage investors (Kambon & Henderson 2008). Speculation in some communities indicates that, after the American Civil War, the black slaves did not obtain education as well as fair opportunity to cater for themselves and their families.However, most people have a misconception regarding the relationship between crime and poverty (Reis & Moore 2005). They generalize that the poor people are responsible for criminal activities that take place in society. Even if the poor commit most crimes, such as robbery, arson, thievery, and murder, some poor individuals do not commit any crime (Reis & Moore 2005). Other incorrect conceptions are the assumptions that people of color have an increased likelihood of committing crimes due to the influence of their skin color and not because of their upbringing and surroundings. Most of the misconceptions may result in adverse consequences of bigotry and racism in real-life situations. Understanding and addressing the base of the relationship between crime and poverty will inevitably encourage citizens to live comfortably in their localities, and engage themselves in productive activities for their well-being (Reis & Moore 2005).
The suggestion that youth unemployment leads to criminal behaviors is appealing and has a basis on the fact that people respond to incentives in a positive manner. Considering criminal activities as alternatives to legitimate occupations, which generates financial benefits, a rational perpetrator should compare the material or financial benefits to the use of time in illegal and legal activities and arrive at decisions accordingly. Research has shown that the decrease in potential earnings and income that have a close association with involuntary unemployment, leads to the increase of the returns to illegitimate activities (Reis & Moore 2005).
Some families have a number of problems, which encourage youths to engage themselves in criminal activities, in both their homes and the entire society. Such problems include lack of parenting skills; domestic violence; single parenthood; and working parents. Lack of parenting skills may have long-term influences on children and the entire society (Reid & Johnson 2011). Some parents do not have parenting skills because of various reasons, but they can acquire the skills by interacting with other people in classes, during community outreach programs, and in support groups. Acquiring appropriate parenting skills will enable children to remain healthy and happy, which will help them succeed in their lives. Lack of appropriate parenting skills will make children develop low self-esteem and resort to criminal activities, such as bullying other children at school (Reid & Johnson 2011).
The origin of school violence and bullying is not the school, but at home, where the pupils grow live. Youths acquire most of their behaviors, both evil and beneficial, from the situations and circumstances that they encounter in everyday life, especially at home (Reid & Johnson 2011). The conditions at home have the greatest influence on the behaviors of children. Therefore, if children grow up in a homestead where the father abuses their mother, whether physically or verbally, children will acquire the behaviors that lead to domestic violence. Such children will express their behaviors later in life, which can lead to criminal activities like battering or murder. Studies have shown that children living in abusive homes will themselves become abusers. They perceive violence as an appropriate solution to problems that they encounter in their lives (Reid & Johnson 2011). Children in homes with domestic violence perceive the stronger parent as the winner, and desire to possess his or her character. Research has shown that parenting practices, such as giving a severe discipline to young boys may increase aggression of their behaviors, especially when in school. It is not advisable for parents the employ coercive techniques as a way of controlling their children (Reid & Johnson 2011).
In the contemporary society, the extended families of many family members do not exist. Both parents in most families report to work during the dawn and return to their homes late in the evening or sometimes stay at the workplace to accomplish their duties (Grose 2002). This is because the cost of living has escalated and the able-bodied members must work extra hard to meet their needs. Such parents leave their children alone at home, which leads to lack of parental supervision. Therefore, the governing system breaks down allowing children to make decisions by themselves, which may be extremely different from what the parent could make (Grose 2002). Domestic violence may take place between siblings, which will set the groundwork of violence in both the school context and home in the future. If a child bullies his siblings and receives no reprimand because parents are not around, he will continue with his behavior and attack other children at school (Grose 2002).
However, some parents may spend with their children at home, but fail to discipline them once they do not do things in the right way (Hanson 1995). Such children may become self-absorbed because their parents fail to give them discipline accordingly. Some parents overindulge their children, which makes the children develop a feeling that they cannot do wrong. Children may act out knowledgeably that they will avoid punishment. Therefore, they will become mature people who lack empathy for other people (Hanson 1995).
A number of youths in the society exhibit criminal behaviors because they grew up with a single parent, either mother or father. Statistics show that children who grow up in homes with a single parent, have a higher likelihood of becoming criminals because a single parent may not be able to address some issues concerning the opposite gender (Hanson 1995). For instance, a father may not be able to know that his daughters have begun to experience their menstrual period and buy them sanitary pads. The girls may not inform their father regarding the sanitary pads because of shyness. Therefore, the girls may resort to criminal activities, such as stealing money or prostitution to acquire money for buying the sanitary pads. Likewise, the mother may not be able to advise her teenage sons as the father can do (Hanson 1995).
A family may have single parenthood because of many reasons such as death of one parent or marital separation. Couples often separate because of behavioral issues that one or both of them display (Reid & Johnson 2011). The behavioral issues could include violence, substance abuse, job instability, or unfaithfulness, just to mention a few. Even if they do not separate, children can imitate the behavioral issues and display them later in their lives. Children may acquire these behaviors due to genetic inheritance, environmental exposure, or both genetic and environmental factors (Grose 2002).
Because marital relationships involving violence, instability, or addictions, has a more likelihood of failing than healthy marital relationships, many children may possess behavioral issues in single parenthood families. A number of inmates in the United States correctional facilities today displays ADHD symptoms or symptoms of personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder (Siegel 2011). Because these individuals are in correctional facilities, the behavior issues are attributable to mental disorders. Because many single parenthood families earn a low income, the statuses of the single parents are to blame for causing criminality of the children, in spite of mental illnesses or the income risk factors. However, some single parents involve themselves and ensure that their children, male or female grow up without criminal behaviors (Reid & Johnson 2011). Parents should be open to their children to address various issues that may lead to committing criminal activities (Siegel 2011).
Alcohol and drugs are among the social factors that pose a strong impact on the ability of an individual to make his or her own choices. Both the use of alcohol and drugs impair normal judgment and can reduce inhibitions, which encourages an individual to commit a criminal activity that he or she could not commit (Henry & Lanier 2001). When an individual is drunk, he may consider things like long prison terms like, as lacking meaning. The consumption of alcohol has a close association with a broad range of crimes in addition to crimes, such as drunkenness and drinking while driving, in which an individual consumes excessive alcohol. Alcohol-related criminal activities have been an issue of public concern for a number of years (Henry & Lanier 2001).
Most of the drug users commit a variety of criminal activities, including murder, rape, spouse and child abuse, assault, property damage, just to mention a few. Drug users, some of whom lack the ability to hold employment opportunities, commit robberies to acquire money for purchasing clothing, shelter, food, and other necessary goods and services. Consumption of alcohol and drugs leads to increased violent criminal activities high numbers of criminal offenders, which has in turn resulted in population explosion in the correctional facilities (Henry & Lanier 2001). Those countries that have enacted strong policies on drug use have reduced the number of individuals who use drugs, which has consequently resulted in reduced crime rates.