Causes of Crime
The Complexities Of Crime
Explaining the cause of crime is difficult; two people living in the same circumstances—such as poverty, family problems, or unemployment—may take entirely different paths in life. A related question to what leads people to commit crimes, is what causes some criminals to quit? Some juvenile delinquents stop committing crimes when they become adults; others stop later in adulthood. Leading factors may include changing body chemistry such as lowering of testosterone, improved employment, or growing family responsibilities like becoming a parent.
Aging is definitely a factor in crime trends. Some attribute the crime drop in the 1990s not just to more prisons or lower unemployment rates, but to the aging of the population. Statistics show most criminals are males between seventeen and thirty-four years of age. In the 1970s, this segment of society was quite large; by the 1990s it had substantially declined.
Despite aging some people commit criminal acts throughout their lives, sometimes becoming even more violent. Others do not turn to crime until their later years. Both of these patterns argue against internal causes of crime. Some criminologists insist the tendency to commit a crime remains constant in a person throughout his or her life, that only the opportunities change with time.
By the early twenty-first century the prevailing thought among criminologists was that criminal behavior comes from a combination of factors. People are complex and influenced by social, biological, psychological, and economic conditions in different ways. The links between crime and employment, education, and family life remain extremely hard to predict and difficult to define.
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