The Problem Of Crime And Crime

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Before we can discuss the causes of crime, it is first necessary to determine what we mean by the word “crime”. The legal definition of crime refers to “an action or omission which constitutes an offence” and involves some sort of punishment – but as we will go on to explore, this definition fails to capture the full complexity of the concept of crime. Likewise, the question of “what causes crime” has generated a multifocal body of criminological work. This paper will demonstrate that it is virtually impossible to pinpoint a single cause of crime that is applicable across all categories of crime, ranging from sexual offences to white-collar crime, and although existing theories do give us a good foundation for investigation, they are limited in this sense. This discussion will begin with a brief unpacking of our conception of “crime”, followed by an evaluation of various crime theories and perspectives with particular focus on male violence as a cause of crime, an area that took criminologists twenty years to begin exploring after feminist pressure.

The legal definition of crime simply points to punishable offences in statute and takes no account of crime as a “social construction” – this is the idea that it is not some quality of the act that renders it criminal, rather it is the reaction of society, a viewpoint central to Becker’s Labelling Theory . What we understand as “crime” is not inherently criminal and has been shaped by society. As Muncie asserts, “crime has

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