Discuss Theories of Crime

When convicted murderers were asked why they committed their crimes, Norman Smith said he acted out of boredom when he shot his victim. Other murderers have said they murdered for a challenge. There are three theories of crime which are biological, psychodynamic and behaviourist. During the Victorian time, they believed that it was possible to spot a criminal by their features. Lombroso suggested that criminals form a separate species which is more primitive to humans; this was displayed through certain characteristics.For example; a narrow sloping brow, high cheekbones, large ears and a crooked or flat nose. Lombroso sampled the proportions of 383 skulls of dead criminals and 3,839 heads of living ones. He didn’t suggest that all criminal acts were perpetrated by people by their facial features but concluded that approximately 40% could be accounted for in this way. He later went further, attributing criminality to mental illnesses. For example: stating that most born criminals suffer from epilepsy to some degree.This theory caused great controversy in the 19th century and although Lombroso’s conclusions are not really supported by his own data, it was highly influential in promoting views about biological determinism. There is thought to be no scientific foundation for Lombroso’s theory. Goring compared the physical features of 3,000 convicts and a control group. He found little support for Lombroso’s theory of distinctive facial and cranial characteristics.Criminality and certain facial characteristics may both be affected by confounding factors such as poverty and poor nutrition. In addition, even if certain facial features occur more often in criminals, it does not mean that there is a casual relationship. They may be other explanations like people with certain facial features may be stereotyped as ? hard? and picked on more often, leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy.