Criminological theories

Mark and James are both 15 year old who have been friends for a long time. They are both from single parent families and they dropped out of school where they had been poorly performing. One day as they stroll idle in their neighborhood they meet Henry who is eighteen years old and who has dropped out of school two years earlier. Henry tried to seek for legitimate employment but given his lack of qualification and in the face of a highly competitive job market this remained a far fetched dream. His poor performance had a role to play in steering his dropping out of school.

Henry has three dependents; his girlfriend and child as well as a sick grandmother to take care of and without a legitimate employment he engages in drug trafficking. Henry advised Mark and James to join him in the criminality behavior and rationalizes his being in crime. James is easier to convince as he too has a baby he ought to take care of. Henry shows them the tricks involved in the illegal trade and as they try to execute it hell broke loose and a fight broke out. James had his arm stabbed and Henry shot one of their opponents on the chest leaving him for dead.

Various theories have been coined to explain the causes of crime in the society. They vary from psychological, biological, conflict, social disorganization, social learning, feminist theories as well as feminist theories of crime. This paper will try explaining which of these theories best explains the causes of crime in the case above. The Merton’s theories of crime can be used to explain the engagement in crime by James, Mark and Henry. Merton argued that the society is the one to blame for the incidences of crime in it. (Akers119).

Merton argued that the society tends to set goals all of which it expects its members to attain or achieve but the same society fails to provide the institutionally acceptable means of realizing this goals. In trying to realize the ‘American Dream’ where attaining wealth and economic gain is highly revered but in the various constraints people react in various ways. (Gregg Lee). Conformists accept the set goals as well as the legally accepted means of attaining them and consequently pose no threat to the society in as far as crime is concerned.

Ritualists reject the set goals though they emphasize on the means of attaining those goals. Rebels reject both the goals as well as the means of attaining the set goals. Innovators accept the goals but seek for illegal or rather institutionally unacceptable ways of attaining these goals. These are a threat to the security in the society as they can easily engage in crime in trying to attain the set goals. James, Mark and Henry can be viewed as innovators who in trying to realize the ‘American Dream’ engage in drug trafficking.

There is need for society in trying to accommodate the less skilled individuals although the main point would be to ensure that education is effective. Factors hindering students from excelling in schools must be amicably addressed. The social learning theory can also be applied to explain the boy’s engagement in crime. As Sutherland argued crime is a learnt behavior acquired through contacts or close interactions with those already engaging in it. Such people would be close friends or family members. (Akers 59).

Crime is learnt from individuals who have experience. The motives or drives of engaging in crime are also learnt and the rationalization process takes place. In this case, Henry is the experienced person in crime and he explains the motives of his engagement in crime to Mark and James. He also teaches them the tricks involved as the business is a risky one and he stays with them to make sure they have acquired the skills. He acts as their watchman to offer them security and gives them marijuana ‘the trade product’.

The social disorganization theory can also be used to explain the cause of crime in this case. As Gennaro and others in ‘Criminology: Theory, Research, and Policy’ this theory suggest that there is a link between the crime rates in society and the ecological factors. Crime rates will be higher in areas where there is high temporary residential as well as commercial property or in deserted buildings which act as magnets of crime. Crime rates also tend to be higher where there are loose societal norms or values especially where there is constant changing of neighborhoods.

In such societies there are higher instances of single parenthood and poverty rates that government intervention would be highly appreciated. Crime rates also tend to be higher where there are loose societal norms or values especially in areas where there is constant movement of people. (Vito 142). The neighborhood that the three live in is characterized with lawlessness and gang activity is like a normal activity. A society where gangs engage in fights, drug trafficking as well as have weapons like guns is a disorganized one. Works Cited: Gregg Lee. Sociology by the Numbers.

Anomie Theory, Control Theory, and Understanding Crime. 2007. Retrieved on 1st November 2008 from http://wps. ablongman. com/ab_henslin_essentials_5a/9/2536/649416. cw/index. html Gennaro F. Vito, Jeffrey R. Maahs, Ronald M. Holmes. Criminology: Theory, Research, and Policy. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2006. p 142 Lewis Coser. 2006. Crime Theories and the Field of Criminology. Retrieved on 1st November 2008 from http://www. apsu. edu/oconnort/1010/1010lect02. htm Ronald Akers. Criminological Theories: Introduction and Evaluation. Taylor & Francis Publishers. 1999. P 59-119