Criminology is the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon. Criminology is the scientific approach to studying criminal behavior (Bryant & Peck, 2007). “Criminology is a multidisciplinary science. In addition to criminology, criminologists hold degrees in a variety of diverse fields, including sociology, criminal justice, political science, psychology, public policy, economics, and the natural sciences” (Siegel, 2010, para 3). History of Criminology
Sir Robert Peel brought the English concept of policing and theories to include the principles of policing. This started the history of policing and criminology in America. This led to early attempts to explain crime scientifically, efforts that began in the late 18th century and continued until the end of the 19th century, when the term ‘criminology’ finally came into use, and the field became a discipline. Primary purpose for criminology
Criminology Criminology is a form of knowledge viewing crime as a social phenomenon (Luckenbill, & Miller, 2007). The intention of criminology is the development of a form of common and tested principles and of other types of knowledge concerning this process of law, treatment, and crime. The reason for introducing theories
The important aspect about theories is that they are needed to live and to live better. Theories let us to develop and test solutions to problems we come across in life. Theorists use the scientific process to test their theories. They assemble data, generate a hypotheses—testable beliefs of behavior that can be obtained from the theory and test them using valid experiential research procedures. Around the end of the nineteenth century, a new vision of the world tested the legitimacy of classical theory and offered a modern way of looking at the causes of crime (Siegel, 2010). Classical school
Classical Criminology The classical school was established during the eighteenth century in Europe. The classical school point of view of crime is a rational means for maximizing self-interest. Neoclassical Criminology
In neoclassical criminology, punishment is seen as providing both a deterrent and just deserts. Just deserts implies that criminal offenders deserve the punishment they receive and that any criminal punishment meted out should be suitable to the type and seriousness of the crime perpetrated. Biological Theories
Early Positivism Studying the behavior of the criminal is the first genuine concern represented by positivism. Positivism looks for ways to find those factors that cause the criminal conduct and remove (or treat) them, If the conduct were socially undesirable, individuals demonstrating them should be treated and returned to normalcy. Psychological and sociological theories as well as biological theories represents positivism. Positivism has had a huge effect on the way criminological theories have been shaped and the way that research has been conducted. Constitutional
Constitutional factors such as Gender, age, body type, observable physical characteristics, intelligence, and personality play a role in crime. Constitutional factors influence a person to specific types of behavior and that social reaction to such behavior may determine, to a large degree, the form of continued behavior (Schmalleger, 2009,). Psychological/Psychiatric Theories
Model Theory A form of social learning theory modeling theory emphasizes that people learn how to act by watching others. They must learn the aggressive behavior. Psychoanalytic Criminology Psychological theories gained popularity around the turn of 20th century, the dominance of sociological theories overshadowed biological and psychological theories of crime. Psychological theories of crime view individual difference in conduct make certain people likely to commit criminal conduct.
This theory also claims that an environmental factor has initiated an internal response to the personality of the individual and that environmental factor is the cause that permits the individual to engage in immoral and criminal conduct. Several psychological descriptions tend to indicate numerous personality attributes displayed by offenders that if recognized early could foresee future criminal conduct. Social Structure Approaches
Social Disorganization The importance of analyzing social structure itself became firmly grounded when the government’s New Deal reform efforts focused on rearranging society. Culture Conflict Also called cultural deviance theory culture conflict theory suggests a clash of values between differently socialized groups over what is acceptable or proper behavior is the root cause of criminality. Basically a clash between the social values of the middle-class and the conduct standards of other classes. Conduct standards can be defined as the day-to-day rules that govern the behavior of these social classes. History has shown that adherence to conduct standards often results in a clash with the mainstream culture (Lyman & Potter, 2007). Social Process Theories
Social Learning Social learning theory focuses more on the behavior and presents a familiar treatment or remedy for deviance. Learning theory is also aimed toward individuals in order to explain how individuals come to take part in criminal behavior. Social Control
Social control theory is not new. It is a theoretical approach most closely match’s the public’s idea of why people become criminals. People tend to believe that a person becomes criminal for a variety of reason, associating with the wrong friends, an inadequate upbringing, an absence of religion, or a deficiency of education, social control theory reflects that belief. Social control theory takes a view of human nature that accepts deviance is natural (Williams & McShane, 2011). Social Conflict Theories
Conflict Theories Conflict theories, are based on the notion that people hold conflicting values and disagreement is common. Often pointed to as evidence of a conflict orientation are laws that seem to benefit only small groups of a selected few or powerful business owners (Williams & McShane, 2011). Radical Criminology
Radical criminology holds that the causes of crime are rooted in Social conditions that give power to the wealthy and the politically well-organized but exclude those that are less fortunate (Schmalleger, 2009,) . Economic conditions are also critical to many radical theories. During periods of economic depression and recession, unemployment is among the most common of the factors assumed to be associated with crime.
Industry must reconcile a threat to its survival with downsizing its labor force. “A preliminary version of radical conflict theories is characterized by the work of William Chambliss in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Chambliss became interested in the making of law and the process by which it was applied.” (Williams & McShane, 2011)
Conclusion The study of criminology theory is a chance to examine and evaluate the way others have looked at crime throughout history. Statistics on crime are essential to criminology. They help establish the basic social facts of the crime. Criminologists are interested in answering questions about how crime should be defined, why crime occurs, and how societies seek to control crime. The history of modern criminology, which can be traced to the early nineteenth century, has not produced definitive answers to these questions.
Today, the quest to understand crime is as close to us as the latest newspaper headlines and television reports. Theory is not just a popular belief, opinion, or value-driven explanation. Instead, theory is a product of the scientific approach (Williams & McShane, 2011).
References Bryant, C. D., & Peck, D. L. (2007). Criminology. 21st Century Sociology, 1-2(), 390-399. doi:10.4135/9781412939645.n39 Crutchfield, R. D., & Kubrin, C. (2001). Criminology. In Encyclopedia of Sociology (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 527-539). New York: Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CCX3404400080&v=2.1&u=uphoenix&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w Lyman, M. D., & Potter, G. W. ( 2007 ). Organized Crime (4th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.
Luckenbill, D., & Miller, K. (2007). Criminology. In C. Bryant, & D. Peck (Eds.), 21st century sociology. (pp. I-390-I-399). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412939645.n39 Schmalleger, F. (2009). Criminology Today. An Integrative Introduction (6th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database
Siegel, L. J. (2010). Criminology. Theories, Patterns, and Typologies, (10th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database. Williams, F. P., & McShane, M. D. (2011). Criminological Theory (5th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.