Criminal Studies

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The root causes of crime are among the most discussed topic in criminology studies. The nature vs. nurture discussion has dominated many criminology kinds of literature. Some theorist argues that social environment factors solely leads to crime while others argue that biological factors contribute to crimes. In the real sense, a combination of both factors contributes to crimes by determining the mindset of individuals. Criminals are just members of the society who are influenced by several factors which lead them to indulge in illegal and unethical activities (Cullen, Agnew, & Wilcox, 2014). The paper will focus on the causes of crimes.

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What causes crimes?

There are many theories that address the question of why crime exist.  The two concept that dominates these theories are the social environment factors and the biological factors that lead to crime. According to many theorists, social environment is the primary case of crime. However, these factors are fostered by biological traits which lead to the development of criminal behaviors. The fact remains that a combination of the two factors molds people’s mindset to one that is crime oriented (Hegger, 2015).

The human social environment is made up of the immediate physical surroundings, cultural factors that define the society and social relationships. Culture plays a significant role by stipulating the beliefs, morals, and values which are useful in making decisions throughout the lives of individuals.  The social learning environment in which one is brought up directly influences the criminogenic needs of individuals.  The experience that people get when growing up as children significantly shape their view of the world and also impacts on the making of rational decisions (Bartol & Bartol,2014). For instance, what may be viewed as a rational decision in one society may be regarded as completely irrational in another. Criminal peer, for instance, may influence others to make bad decisions. In an urban setting where crime thrives, peer pressure has been a key cause. Other social environment factors that cause crime include child abuse, exposure to domestic violence and emotional harms. According to research, serial killers and other violent people are mostly affected by the abuse and neglects that they were subjected to during their childhood (Warr, 2002).

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On the other hand, biological factors affect the behaviors of individuals. For instance, there are many genes which may influence brain functioning leading to the development of unwanted behaviors. There is a direct link between criminal behaviors and genetics. During conception, genetics start to influence the development of traits which can lead people to illegal behaviors. A good example of biological traits that are passed on is an addiction. If a child is born with an addiction to some illegal substances, at a later stage of life, he or she is easily exposed to such addiction (Cullen, Agnew, & Wilcox, 2014). During childhood development, if a child lacks positive reinforcement about social aspects, at a later stage such a child may be vulnerable to crime.

In devising proper corrective measures, a good understanding of the root cause is crucial. To overcome the menace of crime, children should be brought up in a well-organized environment setting. The undesired traits and factors should be dealt with at the very beginning (Beller, 2011).


In summing up, both social environment and biological traits jointly influence criminal behaviors in individuals. With a good understanding of the root cause of criminal mindset, proper actions will be taken to overcome crime.

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  1. Bartol, C., & Bartol, A. (2014). Criminal Behavior A Psychological Approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
  2. Beller, L. (2011). The Making and Unmaking of a CriminalInsight Magazine. Retrieved 19 January 2017, from
  3. Cullen, F., Agnew, R., & Wilcox, P. (2014). Criminological Theory: Past to Present. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  4. Hegger, J. (2015). Nature vs. nurture: Which causes crime? CorrectionsOne. Retrieved 19 January 2017, from
  5. Warr, M. (2002). Companions in Crime. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
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