A variety of factors leading to criminal behavior decides who is most likely to commit a crime. some people are more likely to break the laws mainly because of their social background.
Criminology deals with the study of individuals and various social factors associated therewith. The various sociological backgrounds include their gender, class, age, urban/rural residence, ethnicity, and race. Crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. Blackstone and Stephen stress that crime is breaches of those laws which injure the community.
Crime as defined by Tappan states crime as an international action or omission in violation of legal code committed without any defense or justification and penalized by the law a felony and misdemeanor.
Characteristic Paradigms of Crime
There are certain characteristics of a crime, which makes an unlawful act or omission punishable under the law of the land. The main characteristics of crime are as follows:-
- External consequences: Crimes always harm society; may it be social, personal, emotional, or mental.
- Act (Actus Reus): There should be an act or an omission that constitutes a crime. Intention or mens-rea alone shall not constitute a criminal offense unless it’s followed by some external or overt act. Generally, omitting to do something will not amount to the wrongdoing of an offense.
- Mens-rea or guilty mind: Mens-rea is one of the major elements of a crime. It may, however, be direct or implied.
Men’s rea implies that there must be a state of mind concerning wrongdoing, that is, an intention to act within the proscribed fashion. It is, however, important to distinguish men’s rea from motive. In short, motive should be taken into consideration at the sentencing stage and not at the time of deciding the question of men’s rea.
- Prohibited Act: The act should be forbidden under the existing legal code. An act, howsoever immoral shall not be an offense unless it is prohibited by law of the land.
- Punishment: The act that constitutes a crime should not only be forbidden by the law but should also be punishable by the State.
Factors affecting people to most likely commit a crime
Statistics reveal that fewer groups of people are most likely to commit crimes than others. The various social backgrounds that determine the people who are most likely to commit a crime are as follows:
- Gender pattern
Crime is usually a male activity predominantly. Men outnumber women in a high proportion in all criminal populations. Nevertheless, in many western societies, the incidence of crime recorded by women and in the criminal justice system has increased. Men have high crime rather than women.
The major difference in criminal behavior is usually made by age. Younger is most likely to commit the crime. The peak age for criminals is usually 21 to 25 years in the case of males and 26 to 30 years in the case of females. Peer relationship is one of the major factors contributing to the commission of the crime.
- Social Class
The relation between class or economic status is typically studied. Most research and statistics show poor people are most likely to commit the crime. Although the poor commit more crimes, even then wealthier are more likely to crime white-collar crimes.
- Racial Patterns
The relation between ethnic or racial backgrounds and criminality has evoked considerable controversy. There are certain racial and ethnic groups that have higher crime rates.
- Urban vs Rural Residence
Where a person also affects one’s likelihood to commit the crime. The majority of crimes take part in urban cities.
Various Types of Crimes
- White-Collar Crime
These types of crimes are most often committed by the high socio-economic class. It is defined as financially motivated, non-violent crimes committed by business and government professionals.
- Blue-Collar Crime
People from a lower social class are most likely to commit a crime. These crimes are in contrast with white-collar crime. These crimes cause injury to people and property. Few blue-collar crimes include burglary, theft crimes, murder, rape, sex crimes, etc.
- Organized Crimes
These crimes are usually committed by a group of individuals either local, national, or international. Mafia is an example of organized crime. Examples of organized crimes include assassination, blackmailing, bombing, illegal gambling, etc.
- Cyber Crime
This type of crime usually involves a computer or a network. These crimes may threaten a person or a nation’s security and financial health. Examples of cybercrime involve online harassment, cyberbullying, pornography, etc.
People who are most likely to commit crimes are younger people who belong to an age of 21 to 26 years, the majority of crimes are usually committed by males. Major crimes are usually witnessed in urban cities rather than rural areas.