Friday, December 25, 2009

Causes and Consequences of Crime/Role of Social Organisation as a Contributing Factor to Crime

Crime is anti-social behaviour which a group rejects and to which it attaches penalties. In this way all those activities for which society lays down attached may be sinful but they would not be criminal. But some thinkers have deemed it comprehensively. In the words of C. Darrow, “Crime is an act forbidden by the law of the land and for which penalty is prescribed”. This constitutes a definition of crime from the social viewpoint. From the legal viewpoint, violation of law constitutes crime. In the words of Barnes and Teeters, “The term “Crime” technically means a form of anti-social behaviour that has violated public sentiment to such an extent as to be forbidden by statute”. This definition does not include those anti-social activities which are not prohibited by law. Actually, criminality should attach both to anti social activities and to activities forbidden by law. Though no punishment is prescribed for anti-social activities, the public opinion always condemns them. According to Garofalo even the actions contradictory to the prevalent conceptions of pity and truth should be considered criminal. To quote Elliott and Merrill, “A crime ipso facto implies a disturbance in a social relationship and a social definition as to what such a disturbance is”.

Causes of Crime
The main causes of crime are – (1) Social, (2) Economic, (3) Physical and developmental (4) Geographical (5) Political.

Social Causes of Crime
The main social causes of crime are as follows:
1. Family and Crime – The family is the most dominant factor in the social causes of crime in India. Now-a-days family disorganisation is to be seen in India. The control previously exercised by the family over the individual is now lacking. In urban areas, all the members of a family are to be seen pursuing their individual paths. With the lifting of family control there are no restrictions to the criminal tendencies of children. Now that the natural relations between parents and children are devoid of love both young boys and girls are prone to criminal activity. Even in the villages the adolescents and young men and women do not respect their elders, and they want to lead a carefree; unrestricted, individual life. Due to all these causes, sex crimes are increasing. One main cause of adultery, abortion, miscarriage, prostitution and juvenile delinquency is the undesirable domestic conditions.
2. Absence of Social Control – A second social cause of crime in India is absence of social control. Previously, the caste panchayats in the village kept control over the behaviour and conduct of the members of the caste. It was extremely difficult to conceal crime in the village and when any crime was revealed the caste panchayats meted out very stern punishments, going to the limit of exterminating the guilty persons from the caste. This tended to control and check crime effectively. Today, these social organisations no longer exist. They have been derived of all their authority. Secondly, with better facilities of transport being available the criminal can commit the crime and abscond from the village to the town of to the village from the town. In urban areas no one is troubled about caste organisation. Now-a-days in big cities, even doing favour to neighbourers is a defunct practices because few have intimacy with their neighbourers and social relationships have been impersonal. Any individual can commit a crime and conceal his identity in the city mob. In this way, the disappearance of the control of caste organisations is another cause of crime in India.
3. Defective Education – Modern education in India is very defective. It does not develop the character of students in right directions. Instead it has led to an increase in selfishness, disorderliness and impertinence. Ethical and religious education has no place in the modern education system. Besides this, even after completing his education an individual does not become capable of earning his livelihood and many well educated people remain unemployed for many years. Late employment leads to late marriage. All these causes tend to aggravate criminal activity.
4. Cinema – Cinema has helped in the increase of crime in India. According to Blumen and Hansen, cinemas indirectly influence the male criminals. The cinema arouses criminal tendencies in men by teaching crime techniques, by exhibiting many kinds of crimes, by stimulating the desire for wealth and comforts, by showing ways and means of appropriating them illegally, by arousing the feelings of bravado, toughness and adventure, by arousing profound sexual urges, by stimulating day dreams of criminal jobs. In much the same way it directs or urges many young and inexperienced women to illegitimate relations and crimes by setting alight the sexual desire, the desire for exhibition, love making, independence and variety.
5. Newspapers – Besides cinemas, newspapers also have a hand in increasing criminal activity. Newspapers increase criminal activity by publishing methods of crime through news items, by printing many news items relating to crime, by making crime a general subject, by printing news of major crimes and showing their advantages, circulating the names of criminals, by highlighting causes which tend to increase crime in the name of studies of crime sand by warning and alerting criminals by publishing police methods. The recent wave of dacoities in India was to some extent indirectly assisted by newspapers.
6. Use of Alcohol – The consumption of alcohol also is one of the major causes of crime in India. Drinking is more prevalent among those who have low standard of life and it is also from among them that the greatest numbers of criminals are coming. There are large numbers of crimes committed under the influence of alcoholic stimulants. Drinking affects not only the drinker and makes him a criminal but it also has a deleterious influence on his entire family and inclines men, women and children towards crime. In this way, drinking increases crime both apparently as well as indirectly.
7. Prohibition of Widow Remarriage – In India widow remarriage is now legally accepted as valid but it is still looked down upon in society. Consequently many young widows do not remarry for the rest of their lives but such a decision does not annihilate their sexual passion and these rather lie dormant in a corner of the mind and wait for a suitable opportunity. Even if the widow is religious and saintly she is pursued by men and is lured to the path of evil and sin by many threats and coaxes. In this way, there is an increase in adultery, miscarriages, abortions, infanticides, etc. When their sinful practices are made public many women commit suicide.
8. Defects of the Marriage and Dowry System – In India the dowry system also is among the social causes of crime. On the one hand the dowry system urges the fathers of girls to earn money through illegitimate means for their daughter’s marriage, it on the other hand, leads to suicide by many young girls who can not bear to see the degraded condition of their parents, the dowry system as further encouraged late marriages, both in girls and in boys. In extreme cases, the lack of wealth compels a girl to remain unmarried throughout her life or at most she is married to an old man or to an unsuitable partner. All these also tend to increase sex crimes in society. Very often the parents do not care to ask the girl or boy for opinion and sometimes even proceed against it. This also results in suicide and other crimes.
9. Religion – Religion has also been one of the causes of crime in India. This doe not mean that religion itself encouraged crimes but the encouragement has come from the different sects who originated in the differences of opinion between people on matter of religion and in the hatred for other religions. In a general way, of course, communal riots and crimes such as looting, murder and so on, perpetrated in order to increase the followers of one’s own religion and to injure another religion have always been happening in India, but the crimes committed during communal riots in the name of religion, when the country was partitioned in 1947 were unequalled in the history of the world. Helpless women were denuded and taken in procession through the main roads all the time being whipped. Their breasts were cut off; they were violated and mutilated, their children’s hearts were cut out in front of their eyes. The most heinous crimes that can be discovered in the history of criminal activity have been perpetrated in India.
10. Changes in Social Values – There has been a tremendous change in social values in recent times in India. Now-a-days, new notions such as materialism, individualism, rationalism, the respect for wealth, absence of sex restriction etc, are becoming very popular in the country. This has led to a disregard of ancient social values and new values have been reinstated in their stead. There is no one common opinion of any kind in them. This disordered state of values also inspires crime because and individual can manage to produce an argument to justify even that which is improper.
The preceding exposition on the social causes of crime in India will have brought to light the extent to which the defects of such social organizations as family, caste, religion, marriage etc, have no geographical, economic, political and other causes but it is intended merely show the important part played by social organization in crime.

Economic Causes
The main economic causes of crimes are the following:
1. Poverty – In India one sees extreme poverty. Poverty is a major cause of crime, since a hungry man can do literally anything in order to appease his hunger. One comes across instances where a criminal commits a crime immediately on his release from prison in order that he may be imprisoned again where he is assured of a square meal. Outside the prison he ahs no such assurance. Dr. Haikerwal has investigated that in the period 1917 – 1927 thefts increased in number when the prices of wheat went up, decreased when wheat prices fell. In this way; a close relation is found to exist between the number of crimes and the prices of food-grains in India. It was found in the course of a study conducted upon the prostitutes of Kanpur that one major cause of prostitution is poverty. Poor girls are easily enticed by men who violate them, take away their virginity and put them on the market. One even comes across news of suicides and murders of families due to poverty.
2. Unemployment – Unemployment, much like poverty is a major cause of crime in India. Many young men commit suicides when they are frustrated by extreme poverty and continued unemployment. Many others turn to thieving, picking pockets, robbery etc. Among the people who are seen creating disturbances, causing violence, etc; the majority are the unemployed. Most gangsters do not work, Gangsterism is their only occupation.
3. Industrialisation – Industrialisation is also an important cause of crime in India. It has destroyed the family life of millions of labourers. They work very hard for eight to ten hours in the day during which they have to suffer many indecencies and for this they have to live in towns far away from their families. Continued existence of this type leads them to indulge in drinking alcohol and in prostitution and this encourages other crime. In India, the most prospering centres of prostitution are important industrial towns which, at the same time, foster crimes such as murder, assault, disturbance, robbery, etc. Industrialisation has encouraged crime also due to another reason. Housing becomes a problem in an industrial town when the population increases beyond limits in some towns thousands of families live in houses having no more than one room each. In such conditions the married women have no privacy and children and unmarried members witness happenings which they should not see. This had a bad influence upon them and sex crimes increase among them. Sex crimes increase tendencies to other crimes which then take place. In industrial towns many thousands of labourers and men otherwise are compelled to live alone and this tends to split the ration of men to women, which consequently encourages sex crimes. Many girls from rural areas are deceived with promises of employment and brought to towns where they are forced to adopt prostitution.
4. Urbanization – Urbanization is the result of industrialization and other causes. Hence all those crimes caused by industrialization are also caused by urbanization. In cities the society fails to exercise control over the individual who loses his identity in the mob after having committed a crime. There is no such facility, however redoubtable in the village. In towns there are better opportunities for picking pockets and practising deception in a crowd. There is absence of healthy recreation in the town and hence the crimes are committed. Gambling dens, indecent theatres and wine shops provide means of spurious recreation. This encourages crime.
It is evident from the foregoing account of the socio-economic causes of crime in India that there the main causes of crime is social and economic. Absence of reliable statistics makes it difficult to say definitely that the causes of crime here are hardly psychological. But what can be said is that since life in India still lacks some of the velocity and crowdedness of Western life, the psychological causes of crime in India do not compare favourably with their counterparts in America and other Western countries.


2 Responses to “Causes and Consequences of Crime/Role of Social Organisation as a Contributing Factor to Crime”

Bill Protection Insurance said...
October 3, 2013 at 10:06 PM

Poverty and unemployment can also cause crimes.

Sreelakshmi said...
October 6, 2013 at 7:31 AM


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