WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF SOME SERIOUS CRIMES?
Causing the death of another person without legal jurisdiction or excuse, including crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter and negligent manslaughter.
Unlawful sexual intercourse with a female by force, without consent, or when she is underage.
The unlawful taking or attempted taking of property that is in the immediate possession of another, by force or threat of force.
Unlawful intentional inflicting, or attempted inflicting, of injury upon the person of another. Aggravated assault in the lawful intentional inflicting of serious bodily injury or unlawful threat or attempt to inflict bodily injury or death by means of a deadly or dangerous weapon with or without actual infliction of injury.
Unlawful entry of any fixed structure, vehicle, or vessel used for regular residence, industry, or business, with or without force, with the intent to commit a felony or larceny.
Unlawful taking or attempted taking of property other than a motor vehicle from the possession of another by stealth, without force and without deceit, with intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property.
Motor vehicle theft
Unlawful taking or attempted taking of a self-propelled road vehicle owned by another, with the intent of depriving him or her of it, permanently or temporarily.
The intentional damaging or destruction or attempted damaging or destruction by means of fire or explosion of property without the consent of the owner, or of one’s own property or that of another by fire or explosives with or without the intent to defraud.
Match the following headings with the sections of the text below:
• Psychological and psychiatric theories
• Biological theories
• Multiple causation theory
• Social environment theories
• Theological and ethical theories
• Climatic theory
(1) No one knows why crime occurs. The oldest theory, based on theology and ethics, is that criminals are perverse persons who deliberately commit crimes or who do so at the instigation of the devil or other evil spirits. Although this idea has been discarded by modern criminologists, it persists among uninformed people and provides the rationale for the harsh punishments still meted out to criminals in many parts of the world.
(2) Since the 18th century, various scientific theories have been advanced to explain crime. One of the first efforts to explain crime on scientific, rather than theological, grounds was made at the end of the 18th century by the German physician and anatomist Franz Joseph Gall, who tried to establish relationships between skull structure and criminal proclivities. This theory, popular during the 19th century, is now discredited and has been abandoned. A more sophisticated theory – a biological one – was developed late in the 19th century by the Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso, who asserted that crimes were committed by persons who are born with certain recognizable hereditary physical traits. Lombroso’s theory was disproved early in the 20th century by the British criminologist Charles Goring. Goring’s comparative study of jailed criminals and law-abiding persons established that so-called criminal types, with innate dispositions to crime, do not exist. Recent scientific studies have tended to confirm Goring’s findings. Some investigators still hold, however, that specific abnormalities of the brain and of the endocrine system contribute to a person’s inclination toward criminal activity.
(3) 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. His successors have gathered evidence tending to show that crimes against person, such as homicide, are relatively more numerous in warm climates, whereas crimes against property, such as theft, are more frequent in colder regions. Other studies seem to indicate that the incidence of crime declines in direct ratio to drops in barometric pressure, to increased humidity, and to higher temperature.
(4) Many prominent criminologists of the 19th century, particularly those associated with the Socialist movement, attributed crime mainly to the influence of poverty. They pointed out that persons who are unable to provide adequately for themselves and their families through normal legal channels are frequently driven to theft, burglary, prostitution, and other offences. The incidence of crime especially tends to rise in times of widespread unemployment. Present-day criminologists take a broader and deeper view; they place the blame for most crimes on the whole range of environmental conditions associated with poverty. The living conditions of the poor, particularly of those in slums, are characterized by overcrowding, lack of privacy, inadequate play space and recreational facilities, and poor sanitation. Such conditions engender feelings of deprivation and hopelessness and are conducive to crime as a means of escape. The feeling is encouraged by the example set by those who have escaped to what appears to be the better way of life made possible by crime.
Some theorists relate the incidence of crime to the general state of a culture, especially the impact of economic crises, wars, and revolutions and the general sense of insecurity and uprootedness to which these forces give rise. As a society becomes more unsettled and its people more restless and fearful of the future, the crime rate tends to rise. This is particularly true of juvenile crime, as the experience of the United States since World War II has made evident.
(5) The final major group of theories is psychological and psychiatric. Studies by such 20th century investigators as the American criminologist Bernard Glueck and the British psychiatrist William Healy have indicated that about one-fourth of a typical convict population is psychotic, neurotic, or emotionally unstable and another one-fourth is mentally deficient. These emotional and mental conditions do not automatically make people criminals, but do, it is believed, make them more prone to criminality. Recent studies of criminals have thrown further light on the kinds of emotional disturbances that may lead to criminal behavior.
(6) Since the mid-20th century, the notion that crime can be explained by any single theory has fallen into disfavour among investigators. Instead; experts incline to so-called multiple factor, or multiple causation theories. They reason that crime springs from a multiplicity of conflicting and converging influences – biological, psychological, cultural, economic and political. The multiple causation explanations seem more credible than the earlier, simpler theories. An understanding of the causes of crime is still elusive, however, because the interrelationship of causes is difficult to determine.