Similarities and Differences in Sociological Theories of Crime

890 Words Sep 23rd, 2013 4 Pages
Similarities and Differences in Sociological Theories of Crime

Walden University

Similarities and Differences in Sociological Theories of Crime
Sociological theories of crime contain a great deal of useful information in the understanding of criminal behavior. Sociological theories are very useful in the study of criminal behavior because unlike psychological and biological theories they are mostly macro level theories which attempt to explain rates of crime for a group or an area rather than explaining why an individual committed a crime. (Kubrin, 2012). There is however some micro level sociological theories of crime that attempts to explain the individual’s motivation for criminal behavior (Kubrin, 2012). Of the contemporary
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This breakdown of organization and culture within a community leads to a lack of informal social control which in turn leads to higher crime rates especially in the juvenile population (Simons, Simons, Burt, Brody, & Cutrona, 2005). Social disorganization theory asserts that strong levels of connection within a community along with a sense of civic pride motivate individuals to take a more active role in the community therefore acting as a deterrent to crime.
Rational Choice Theory
The third of the contemporary sociological theories is rational choice theory. In stark contrast to social conflict theory and social disorganization theory which are macro level theories, rational choice theory is a micro level theory (Kubrin, 2012). Rational choice theory focuses on the individual motivation behind criminal behavior. Specifically the idea that the choice to commit criminal behavior is a choice based on a type of risk reward scenario. The person contemplating a criminal act consciously weighs the risk associated with the crime against the reward they stand to gain from the crime.
Similarities and Differences
Each of these three contemporary sociological theories of crime are similar in that they focus mainly on crime in poor or disadvantaged areas. This focus is obvious with social conflict theory and social disorganization theory but not as much with rational choice theory although it is there. With rational choice theory the concept of what is to be gained…