Friday, December 25, 2009
The main causes of crime are-(1) Social (2) Economic (3) Physical and developmental, (4) Geographical and (5) Political.
Please consult the answer to the preceding question for an exposition upon the social and economic causes of crime.
Physical and developmental causes
Physical defects also make a man criminal because due to deformities he lags behind these fellow beings in many activities and it is order to remove this difference that he turns to crime. Criminals have usually been found to be extremely ugly. On examining prisoners in the Parkhurst prison, Charles Goring found most of them to be inferior, from the physical viewpoint to the common individual. Mental defects are just as much causative of crime as are physical defects. Among them feeble-mindedness has particularly been found to be a cause of crime. The percentage of feeble-minded criminals among 948 criminals who had committed crimes of various sorts and were studied by Goring was as follows-
Those who set fire to a heap of wheat 52.9 percent
Those who set fire to other forms of property 16.7 percent
Those who robbed and murdered 15.6 percent
Those who committed unnatural sex crimes 41.3 percent
Those who were dacoits 10.0 percent
Gillin calculated that 12 percent of all prisoners are affected with mental diseases. Besides feeble-mindedness, individuals are also led to crime by epilepsy and emotional disturbances. Of the 1000 young men of
Heredity, according to some criminologists, is one main cause of crime. This view is no longer regarded as scientific but there can be no doubt that lineage and descent have some influence upon crime. Early sexual maturity, mental defects and nervous instability etc. are abnormalities an individual inherits, which help in making him a criminal. In a study in
Besides physical defects, factors concerning physical development may also sometimes cause crime. As a general rule it can be said that it is between the ages of 17 to 24 that the greatest number of crimes are committed. In old age rape and other sexual crimes increase in number. Murderous crimes are usually committed by young men. Embezzlement, fraud, vagrancy, alcoholic excesses and murder, etc. are peculiar to middle age. Girls who mature early are more prone to become involved in clandestine affairs. In adolescence the aggressive tendency grows.
Many Geographical causes also stimulate crime. According to criminologists the geographical factors influence crime indirectly. Lombroso has collected evidence and shown that crimes of rape are more common in plains than in the mountains or plateaus. In
Many political causes also encourage crime. Now-a-days many criminals go scot free with prepared legal advice because there is opportunity to prove truth false and falsehood true. This encourages them to engage in further criminal activity. On the other hand, the innocents, who are prosecuted and convicted in their place, also become criminals as a reaction. The ill treatment to which the prison inmates are subjected also hardens the softest of criminal. Crimes are further encouraged by the inefficiency, immorality and corruption of the police department. People connected with political groups also unobtrusively assist criminals and make use of them to inflict injury upon and to defame members of opposing groups.
Means to Prevent Crime
Roughly speaking the way to prevent crime is to counteract the various causes that have been mentioned above. Even new suggestions are being made in this connection. Some important means are-
1. Probation – Probation is the postponement, on certain conditions laid down by the prosecuting authority, of punishment due to a criminal by law. These individuals are kept in the guardianship of some one instead of being imprisoned. According to the Probation Act 1938 of U.P., first offenders below the age of 24 who have committed crimes not punishable by death or life imprisonment may be placed on probation. The decision to place a criminal on probation is taken after due consideration of such factors as his age, his way of life, his conduct, physical and mental condition and others. All criminals placed on probation live under the probation officer’s care. Mostly, it is the minor offender or the juvenile delinquent who is released on probation.
The probation officer performs the following activities for curing the criminal-
1. To keep criminals in his own care.
2. To try to improve and reform criminals.
3. To compile the life histories of criminals and to try to trace their tendencies through them.
4. To send relevant information to courts regarding the criminals.
5. To render assistance to criminals in getting employment.
6. Solution of family problems of criminals such as solving domestic strife and contracting marriage of their daughters, etc.
7. To make efforts to make them good citizens by every conceivable method.
8. To send the criminals to prison once again if they show no signs of improvement.
In this way, the probation officer is both the assistant as well as the saviour of the criminals and tries to put them on the right track by convincing and cautioning them.
2. Parole – Parole is also a means of reforming criminals. Under probation the criminal is given over to the protection of the probation officer without being punished but criminals is placed on parole after he has served a short prison sentence. He is also placed under the parole officer. The parole officer maintains contact with the criminal, keeps an eye on him and tries to reform him. Probation is more popular than parole.
3. Reformatory – In 1876 the Elmira Reformatory was established in
(i) Juvenile Reformatories – The oldest of this kind of reformatory is in
(ii) Adult Reformatories – Only adults who commit some specific kinds of common crimes are confined to the reformatories. They receive education in military discipline, physical exercise, religions, the principles of citizenship etc. There are very few reformatories of this kind in
4. Borstal Schools – Another means of reforming juvenile’s offenders is the Borstal schools. Only criminals between the ages of 16 and 21 are kept in these schools. There are many institutions of this kind in different states of
5. Prison – Prison is a universally accepted means of preventing crime but now-a-day efforts are made to reform rather than to punish criminals in jail. A model prison has been constructed at
Actually, these means are to reform criminals and to prevent them from subsequent criminal activity. These cannot prevent all those factors which must be eliminated from the social, economic and political life of the community in which crimes originate.
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
2. Absence of Social Control – A second social cause of crime in
3. Defective Education – Modern education in
4. Cinema – Cinema has helped in the increase of crime in
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
6. Use of Alcohol – The consumption of alcohol also is one of the major causes of crime in
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
10. Changes in Social Values – There has been a tremendous change in social values in recent times in
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.
The main economic causes of crimes are the following:
1. Poverty – In
2. Unemployment – Unemployment, much like poverty is a major cause of crime in
3. Industrialisation – Industrialisation is also an important cause of crime in
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