The purpose of this paper is to discuss the three major theories of criminology. This paper will talk about the theories that best and worst describe why crime happens. The three major theories of crime are: biological, psychological and sociological. In further examining this paper you will see discussions of personal opinions of the author.
The biological theory states that criminals are born and they are not made. I feel that the biological theory would be the theory that least describes why crime happens. For example, let’s take the case of Jeffery Dahmer. Jeffery was a serial killer that focused on cannibalism. From all of the interviews that were given you would be able to conclude that his family (other then him) including his parents were perfectly normal (they ultimately were divorced but that is a normal occurrence in American society).
“There was no obvious touchstone in Dahmer’s past that can be pointed to as the event that created a serial killer. He had a seemingly normal childhood, living with his father, mother and younger brother in an upper-middle class neighborhood in Bath Township, Ohio(http://www.apbonline.com/media/gfiles/dahmer/dahmer0814.html?s=pb_dahmer).”
So what happened to Jeffery? I feel that the biological theory does not take part in the role of crime and why it happens because, you are in charge of your own mind (sometimes not the case such as insanity). If your parents are serial killers, that does not mean that you will be a serial killer and with the case of Jeffery Dahmer his parents were normal but he wasn’t.
The next theory of crime is the psychological theory. The psychological theory states that innate factors trigger criminal behavior. I believe this theory is among one of the best explanations of why crime happens. Let’s look at the Dahmer case again. If we take out any biological factors or theories and look at the psychological theories we can find out that Jeffery was psychologically disturbed. “It was not a case of hating them,” he said in explaining why he would kill his victims. “It was just … I, uh … it was the only way I knew of to keep them there and keep them with me. It gave me a sense of total control and increased the sexual thrill, I guess, knowing I had total control of them and that I could do with them as I wished. “That was the motivation. Not … there was no hatred involved at all (http://www.apbonline.com/media/gfiles/dahmer/dahmer0814.html?s=pb_dahmer).”
The quote above was taken from Dahmer’s own court testimony. Psychologists now believe that serial killer is an insanity disease. Dahmer was clearly insane. This would best explain why I believe that the psychological theory best describes why crime happens. There is some psychological factor within the criminal which is telling him that what he is doing is ‘normal’. With the psychological theory the criminal lacks the grasp of reality that separates crime from innocence. Ashok Bedi, director of the Milwaukee Psychiatric Hospital said, “For the young Jeffrey Dahmer, that outlet might have been his fascination with dead animals. He dissected road kill, keeping the bones in jars of formaldehyde, and starting an animal graveyard. Dahmer said there was no sexual element to it, explaining it as “morbid curiosity (http://www.apbonline.com/media/gfiles/dahmer/dahmer0814.html?s=pb_dahmer).”
The next theory that I will discuss is the sociological theory. The sociological theory states that external factors trigger criminal behavior. For instance, the environment that a person grows up in might influence the person. I also believe that this theory best describes why crime happens. If a young man grows up in a poor community and sees that his parents are struggling (if there even are parents in the equation) he might be more susceptible to turn to crime or gang life to make money for his family. The young man might want to look into selling drugs to make ends meet. Statistics have proven that people in lower class and poor societies are more likely to commit minor and major crimes such as robbery, selling drugs and murder.
In conclusion, I feel that the psychological and sociological theories best describe why crime happens because they are the direct key factors in crime. Key roles in crime stem from a person’s home environment, along with their mental state and their ability to decipher right from wrong which, would be describes in the psychological and sociological theories.