Crime causation theories can vary greatly. Some people believe that concentrated poverty is the cause of crime. Others believe that criminal behavior is generally the result of negative reactions to ordinary human characteristics. There are also theories that suggest that substance abuse and mental health problems are largely responsible for criminal offenses.
Poverty concentration is one theory for what causes crime. People who support this line of thinking tend to believe that criminality is the result of deteriorating communities. Those with money and education tend to neglect and retreat from areas where people have less money and education. This results in a concentration of people with insufficient resources and life skills. The environments in which these individuals live and the influences to which they are regularly exposed are believed to steer many of them toward criminal activity.
While some people support complicated theories for crime causation, others believe criminal behavior is easily explained by human characteristics. Most people, at some point in life, experience desire, jealousy, and anger. Most people choose to deal with these human characteristics in a legal manner. Some criminologists believe that criminals simply allow their actions to be directed by these feelings.
Crime is also commonly associated with poor or abnormal upbringing. It is believed by some that children who are abused, exposed to violence, or reared by sociopaths are more likely to become criminals than other children. There are other negative childhood experiences that may also have this effect. The individuals who believe in this theory also tend to believe that these effects are passed from one generation to the next.
Criminal acts are often linked to substance abuse, which is a problem that is experienced around the globe. The need to support their addictions drives many people to commit criminal acts, such as robbery, theft, and prostitution. A lack of control after consuming intoxicating substances often leads to violent crimes, including assault, rape, and other crimes.
It is believed that poor upbringing, substance abuse, and other factors can contribute to or cause psychological illnesses as well. It has been argued that a large number of people who are convicted of crimes and subsequently imprisoned are actually in need of mental health treatments. While the law does tend to recognize that offenses, in some cases, are caused by psychological problems, it is often believed that this factor is not considered often enough.
Unaddressed psychological and substance abuse problems are believed to be major crime causation factors. Individuals with these issues are often recidivists, meaning that they commit crimes and are punished, but instead of being rehabilitated by the justice system, they usually go on to commit more crimes. Theories regarding recidivism suggest that this cycle cannot be broken until the underlying causes are addressed.