A General Theory of Crime

If we analyze this paradigm of criminology with respect to individuals and society, it is more adaptable and appropriate because it considers all aspects of the individual and the kind of society that he lives in. Relying on the self-control theory of crime is putting too much blame to parents and families and do not make the environment, the community, or the society accountable enough to influence self-control in children and their ability to abide by the norms and mores of society.

As aforementioned, self-control theory denies the idea that deviance is learned and absorbed from external factors. This is unacceptable because all the components of society have the capacity to influence its people. It is not possible that children, as young as they are and unable to make the right decisions all the time, will not be influenced by peers who drink alcohol and use drugs. It is not possible that children who often see pornographic material from the media will not be influenced by it in terms of sexual views and activities.

Parents who discipline their child very well will not also be fully assured that their children will not get accustomed to unusual behavior from other people outside their home. The science of criminology then should not only depend on the self-control theory of crime. It should be based on timely and apposite theories in the present condition of society. Interpreting crime patterns should not be limited to only one theory, but should be open to other theoretical models of crime and continuing studies in order to provide a comprehensive and well-organized paradigm to look at criminal patterns expansively.

With this in mind, the self-control theory of crime should not be applied so as to only blame parents and child-rearing as determinants of deviant behavior, rather a partial representation of one aspect of an individual involved with criminal acts. Considering the role of various institutions in society will bring about awareness as to their role in bringing about peace and order in society. After all, institutions such as the church, the school, the government, and all others, have the capacity and the authority to keep the peace and order by using their influence to instill what is good among its people.

Churches have the moral responsibility to teach the virtues and the sacred way of life, schools are able to implement programs to occupy children with productive and upright academic activities, and the government has the power to implement strict laws and policies regarding crime to set limits and control its constituents. Parenting is just one, although major, part of a child’s upbringing.


Gottfredson MR, Hirschi T. (1990).“A General Theory of Crime. ” Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press; 1990 Jensen, G. F. (2003). “Social Control Theories. ” Encyclopedia of Criminology. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. Hamilton, M. (2000). “Theoretical Perspective. ” Retrieved August 8, 2008, from FSU. Website: http://www. criminology. fsu. edu/crimtheory/hamilton. htm WKU. (2008). “Control Theories. ” Retrieved August 8, 2008 from WKU. Website: http://www. wku. edu/~james. kanan/Control. pdf