Friday, January 1, 2010

Crime and its Relative Theories


Crime is not of the social problems, which effect and influence all societies. There is no society in any part of the world, which is without crimes. Some of these crimes are socially known and the criminals are punished in one way or the other by legally established agencies or socially approved methods. On the other hand there are crimes, which are unknown to society or are committed by persons or agencies in the society, which enjoy special privileges, power, positions and status and the society ignores them.

One of the serious problems of today’s crimes is that in many cases the criminals are socially, politically and economically so powerful that they decide the course of punishment for others while they themselves manage to get escaped completely.

Crime Defined

Different people have defined crime differently. According to Elliot and Merrill, “Crime may be defined as “Crime may be defined as anti-social behaviour which the group rejects and to which it attaches penalties”. Gillin and Gillin say that, “From the legal point of view, crime is an offence against the law of the land”. Karl Mannheim says, “Crime is an anti-social behaviour”. “A crime is an act opposed to the established attitudes of a group as defined by law at a given time or place”. Another definition which has been put forth is that, “A crime is an act opposed to the established attitudes of a group as defined by law at a given time or place”. From the above definitions it is clear that crime is an evil committed against society. It is believed that anti-social elements are responsible for increase in crime rate.

Theories of Crime

There is a desire on the part of every individual to become a law-abiding citizen because punishment for crimes results in pains for which none is prepared. But in spite of this, rate of crimes is increasing. It is said that it is price for living in a modern advanced society. Some of the theories, which have been put forth in this regard, include the one given by the theologists. They are of the view that as long as the hold of religion on the people was strong the rate of crimes was very low because fear of God was there. But now the hold and influence of religion is decreasing and that is responsible for increase in the rate of crimes. Then another theory put forth is by Hedonistic School of Thought. They believe that crime is committed simply to have more pleasure that can be had by legal and proper means. Thus for them attaining happiness is the sole cause of crime.
Ecological School of Thought opinion, social, economic and political conditions are primarily responsible for committing crimes. But Geographical School of Thought lays stress on geography because in their opinion climate, weather and surroundings are responsible for increase and decrease in crime rates. Then is Topological School of Thought, which lays stress on heredity. According to them a criminal is born as a criminal and remains so throughout his life. There is no scope for his improvement. Sociological School of Though lays stress on social conditions whereas Economic School of Thought is of the opinion that economic conditions are responsible for committing crimes.

Criticism of the Theories
But none of these theories can be accepted because these lay stress on one sole cause. Those who believe in theology forget that at no stage it could be historically proved that atheists are more criminals than the priests. Similarly Hedonistic forget that the people even commit crime compelled by their habits. Ecological school laid stress on geographical conditions but do not account for personal causes of crime. Topological school, which stresses on heredity and geographical school of thought who over-estimates the part of geography portray only one-sided picture of the whole show. So holds true of economic and sociological school of thought. Therefore, all these theories are faulty either in one-way or the other. These discuss only one side of the picture but do not present the picture as whole. It is, therefore, rather reasonable to concur and agree with Multiple School of Thought which believes that no exclusive theory is correct for explaining reason of crime. All factors combined together account for committing crime.


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