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Typologies of Criminal Behavior - Typologies In Criminology

criminals born causal investigators

In the scientific study of crime, investigators have long noted enormous variety among criminals and criminal acts in complex societies. One of the first observers to address this diversity was Cesare Lombroso (1835–1909). He claimed that about one-third of all offenders were born criminals, that is, throwbacks to a more primitive human; more than half were criminaloids, people who were neither biologically nor psychologically abnormal; and the remainder were insane. Although this scheme—and in particular the notion of born criminals—has few advocates today, criminologists have argued that more accurate typologies would facilitate causal analysis. Investigators have sought explanations of criminal behavior by sorting different forms of criminality into homogeneous types because they have been skeptical that a single theory can account for the entire array of crimes or criminals. For example, the criminality of some offenders may be due mainly to psychological problems, whereas other lawbreakers may be responding principally to economic pressures. Although different types of criminal activity may share some causal factors, the weighting of these and other influences would probably differ from one offender type to another.

Typologies may also facilitate crime prevention or correctional efforts, whose success depends on accurately identifying and addressing the specific problems underlying different kinds of lawbreaking behavior (Gibbons, 1965). This argument is similar to a medical one, in which it is assumed that the probability of successful prevention or treatment at certain physical illnesses is greatly enhanced when corrective efforts are tailored to a precise diagnosis of the ailment being attacked.

Typologies of Criminal Behavior - Crime-centered Versus Person-centered Typologies [next]

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about 6 years ago

Typologies of criminal offenders