This essay will consider the notion that any person could become a criminal. In considering this, the question ‘what makes a criminal a criminal’ will be discussed. Defining criminal behaviour is itself, difficult as it could be considered a wide range of behaviours from tasting fruit at the market to speeding to swearing at someone in frustration. Further to this discussion is a consideration of the roles that society and individuals have in defining and contributing to people engaging in criminal behaviours. There are a range of theories that attempt to describe human behavior reflecting the complexities of human behaviour. Given the range of theories of behaviour, there is not any one theory that can fully explain criminal behaviour given the complexity of the behaviour. There are also a multiple of factors impacting on people’s behaviour including criminal behaviour. These include family circumstances, their personality, and mental health issues. Some of the theories that this essay will consider consist of social-control theory, classical theory, biological theory, personality theory, impulse theory and cognitive theory.
Theories attempt to explain behaviour including crime behaviour (Hayes, Prenzler, 2009). In each case for a theory to be applied as an explanation of the behaviour must be testable. Further to this it needs to provide a thorough explanation underpinning the criminal behaviour (Hayes, Prenzler, 2009). There are numerous theories available to aid with the explanation of criminal behaviour. These theories can be linked to behavioural patterns like repetition, instigation, desistance and maintenance (Akers, Jensen, 2007).
It is possible to consider the notion that everyone has at some stage committed a criminal behaviour or could become a criminal by committing an offence (Gottfredson, Hirschi 1990). For example, people in certain areas may be exposed to a higher rate of crime. This higher crime rate in certain areas seems to be maintained over time (Hayes, Prenzler, 2009). There may be many reasons impacting on this phenomenon including socio-economic, and the limited resources associated with this (less money, fewer services). This may be a cause contributing to the reason why people living in these areas become criminals – that is, to survive (Baumer & Gustafson, 2007).
It is too simple to consider that crime pays well and many commit crime to live a certain lifestyle they believe it will create. It should be noted that while some may view crime as an easy pathway to having a lifestyle, crime can also cause many lives to self destruct and in turn significantly impair lifestyles (Burrough, 2009). The classical theory lacks the idea of individual’s self-control rather it considers that the meaning for the individuals depends on their current location and the temptations that surround them (Gottfredson, Hirschi 1990).
Society can manipulate many members’ behaviours, and with these anyone could experience...