Explaining Criminal Behavior

November 17, 2017 Economics

A theory is defined as “a series of interrelated propositions that attempts o describe, explain, predict, and ultimately control some class of events. ” Theories try to help us make sense from several observations that are conducted exhibiting the facts of a principal that connects and clarifies the theory. If the theory is good then it becomes very important to a Criminologist as it shows information beyond the knowledge of the facts presented which can give them further information on how to predict why or how others might commit a crime.

The theories I have chosen to use are the rational choice theory, the sociological theory and the strain theory. The rational choice theory states “criminals make a conscious, rational, and at least partially informed choice to commit crime and employs cost-benefit analysis (as in the field of economics), viewing human behavior as the result of personal choices made after weighing both the costs and benefits of available alternatives. Rational choice theory maintains that human beings are distinctive in the world because they use their Judgments from things they have experienced in society to guide their actions rather than depending entirely on instinct as an animal does. Essentially people act in their own interest by weighing the good and bad of a committing a certain crime and then commit the crime anyway. With this theory it is my belief that if people were given proper tools and/or skills when they are faced with this theory they could willfully make the decision to do the right thing by not committing the crime they are thinking of committing.

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The sociological theory , also known as the deterrence theory, states a person’s social and physical environments are predominantly responsible for the choices a person makes regarding whether or not he or she will commit a certain crime. It is also closely associated with a strongly held belief in the importance of free will. ” This theory states why and how specific facts about the social world are connected. I understand that some people may commit crimes in this theory but I am also a firm believer that a person doesn’t have to become a product of their community by committing crimes.

They can choose to do the right thing and/or consciously choose to make a choice that can benefit them as person rather than hurting their own community. Even when faced with poor schools and neighborhood, vandalized or vacant buildings, unemployment, gang infestation and drugs within the community a person can choose to make a different option and get good grades, go on to college and become a successful law abiding citizen rather than choosing to commit a crime and/or going to Jail. The last theory is the strain theory.

The book definition states the strain theory is “a sociological approach that posits a disjuncture between socially and subculture sanctioned means and goals as the cause of criminal behavior. ” This theory states most people have the same and/or similar dreams and goals, but they don’t all have he same opportunities or abilities to see those aspirations come to fruition. The strain theory “points to a lack of fit between socially approved success goals and the availability of socially approved means to achieve those goals. In other words, a person is faced with stress or strains from things has have be subjected to in their live which increases the likelihood of that person committing a crime. A great example of this theory would be an individual faced with chronic unemployment living in a poor neighborhood decides to sell drugs, commit burglary to obtain money r take illicit drugs to numb the pain they feel. The difference is that each theory deals with different aspects of why or how a person will or will not commit a crime.

The rational theory states that a person thinks before they commit a crime and they determine what would be good or bad if they commit the crime yet they still do it anyway. The sociological theory states that where a person lives and their social plays a determining factor on how and why a person will commit a crime. The strain theory differs by stating that everyone has dreams and aspirations they want to achieve in life but there’s an apparent disconnect teen them socially and culturally that causes some to commit crimes and some who achieve their dreams and/or goals.


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