Crime. Causes of Crime

Crimes are acts which the state considers to be wrong and which can be punished by the state. There are some acts which are crimes in one country but not in another. For example, it is a crime to drink alcohol in Saudi Arabia, but not in Egypt. It is a crime to smoke marijuana in England, but not (in prescribed places) in the Netherlands. It is a crime to have more than one wife at the same time in France, but not in Indonesia.

In many legal systems it is an important principle that a person cannot be considered guilty of a crime until the state proves he committed it.

There are usually two important elements to a crime: (1) the criminal act itself; and (2) the criminal state of mind of the person when he committed the act.

Various scientific theories have been advanced to explain crime. One of the first efforts to explain crime on scientific grounds was made at the end of the 18th century by the German physician and anatomist Franz Joseph Gall, who tried to establish relationshipsbetween skull structure and criminal proclivities. A more sophisticated theory a biological one was developed by the Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso, who asserted that crimes were committed by persons who are born with certain recognizable hereditary physical traits.

Another approach to an explanation of crime was initiated by the French political philosopher Montesquieu, who attempted to relate criminal behavior to natural, or physical environment. Many prominent criminologists of the 19 century attributed crime mainly to the influence ofpoverty. Some theorists relate crime to the general state of a culture.

The final major group of theories are psychological and psychiatric. Investigators have indicated that about one-fourth of a typical convict population is psychotic, neurotic, or emotionally unstable and another one-fourth ismentally deficient.

Since the middle 20 century experts have inclined to so-called multiple factor. They reason that crime springs from a multiplicity of influences biological, psychological, cultural, economic and political.




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  4. Text 2. The Causes of Crime

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