There on the wider population. As this

There are different
theories of crime that have been introduced to explain why crime has been
committed, and they have been influenced by policies during the current time as
it will. There are theories which have replaced the older theories of crime as
they are better at explaining the reasons for crime.

The first
theory for the explanation of crime is “Positivism” which is slit into 3
sections Biological, Psychological and Cultural. The history of “Positivism”
begins with August Comte as he was worried that his community would break down
without the state having a strong force which would regulate people’s lives. The
“Positivism” approach is explaining the criminal behaviour that as happened and
that it is argued that our human nature is good, but the criminal behaviour can
only be caused by factors which are influencing us and cannot be controlled by
the individual. With this put forth, many believe that if the factors would be
discovered it will result in criminal behaviour being cured such as illness or

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Biological explanation was brought about by an Italian physician names Lombroso
in 1876 in which he used the body shapes and sizes of individuals which
happened to be convicted murderers, he would say the body shape shows that they
were criminals. These men would be described as “Atavism” which means Primitive
Man as they had not developed like the modern man thus meaning they are more
likely to be criminals, this was however unreliable as this was only carried
out on criminals so it cannot be used on the wider population. As this theory
was introduced it was eventually discredited after 200 years by Charles Goring
who went to prisons to study criminals and would compare them to military
personnel and found no connection to their physical characteristics. However,
even though this has been discredited there are still stereotypes to peoples
physical characteristics.

In addition,
the psychological explanation for criminal behaviour is linked to families of
the criminals as it starts from a young age until their adult life.
Longitudinal studies have been carried out in America and the UK which shows a
correlation between the criminals and their families. The researcher of this
study named Farringdon had claimed 2 things from this study which were that
criminal activity is linked with a large part of Anti – Social behaviour and
that Anti – Social or the criminal behaviour will start at an early age and
stems through adult life. As a child you’ll learn from your parents and show
disruptive behaviour and will follow on to school failure as they are not
trying to improve their life, there can also be family issues involved with
this such as domestic violence. Later down in life many will become unemployed
due to their poor grades as they failed at school and when they eventually have
children they will have poor parenting skills which would be learned of their

The final
explanation of criminal behaviour through “Positivism” is Cultural which stems
from large American cities in which quantitative data has been recorded on the
young male offenders in inner city areas with low incomes, they life in poor
surroundings and have violence in those communities. Also, in these areas the
use of Anti – Social behaviour would not have been working and with these areas
it is noted that the people living there didn’t stay there for long. In the
study they had also used qualitative methods to find out what crime means to
them, in these investigations it was revealed that many of them didn’t have the
values of the rest of the population and would see crime being acceptable as it
was seen by them on a day to day basis which gangs enjoy.

explanation to crime is “Realism” which is a newer approach to explaining
criminal behaviour and has two different explanations in it which are “Right”
and “left” approaches. These new explanations came about due to the responses
in the political and academic changes in societies during the period which were
in the 1980s and 1990s as that was a time when the increase of crime and order
had taken place, especially in the UK and America. In many cases there were
high reports of the unreported victimisation of the vulnerable and weak groups
in societies, this lead to the two approaches to have a better view of crime
and deviance in societies as they wanted to make the communities to feel safe
due to them both seeing crime is problem for everyone involved.

“Right” realism was the first approach to be created and had been used by the
Conservatives which are a right-wing party, a man named James Q Wilson was the
policy advisor to Ronald Reagan in 1975 and authored a book which talked about
the dealings on stopping crime in which he emphasized the ‘Zero Tolerance’
aspect of crime, Wilson had also state that crime is a choice and you have
yourself to blame. The crime that the ‘Right’ see is problem to all that
destroys communities, people’s lives will undermine the social cohesion of the
societies we live in, the criminal behaviour that the ‘Right’ sees is down to
you and no one else as people are greedy and selfish which will mean that they
will want things in the cases of theft. They also will assume that they have a
natural incline to proceed with criminal behaviour as they would believe it
furthers their interests, it will help them or they do it as there as a small
chance of being caught. The rational choice theory will tell us that criminals
often engage in crime as the benefits received from it outweigh the cost, this
is linked with the 18th century philosophy by Jeremy Bentham and had
been developed by Clarke and Coleman. They also believe that selfish human
nature is a big problem with crime as feckless parenting, absent fathers, lack
of discipline in schools and liberal policies all have served in the rise of
crime. Due to the rising crime is shows that there is ineffective social
control and results in muggins, vandalism, thefts and assaults.

the other approach which is “Left” realism was created in the response of the
Right realism by Lea and Young, it was also due to radical criminology, this is
associated with the Left-wing theorists and was lead by Jock Young who was a
sociologist and wanted to show the importance of attempting to tackle
deprivation as well as wanting the police to respond to the local communities.
The approach of the ‘Left’ realism ignores the ‘Right’ realism view that
society is moral decline and accuses them of failing to recognise the causes of
the crimes being committed, also they again accuse the radical criminology of
not understanding the working-class crime and only looking at the crimes of the
powerful. They believe that they need to focus their attention on the victims
as well as the offenders to help them change due to crime being linked with
inner cities with poor housing estates. To add, they will see crime in three
ways which are Relative Deprivation, Marginalisation and subculture. The
Subculture explains why black youth are engaged with criminality as they will
see life with high material expectations which differs from their parents as
they would see their marginalised position in society. Due to them not gaining the
wealth and fast cars they want they will start committing crimes as their
opportunities will be blocked. Also, the Relative Deprivation tells us that
black young men have a choice of unemployment, training schemes or “White man’s
shit work” (Stuart Hall) as they cannot reach their expectations as they have
seen reality which results in them committing deviant behaviour or crime.
Furthermore, Marginalisation in black and white youth are pushed away from
society and will suffer harassment from people which causes them not to get
jobs thus not having enough money and results in them committing crimes.

The final
theory of the explanation of crime is “Interactionists” which will focus on the
actions of people, how they are motivated and the meaning of social action that
plays a part in participating in it. In this theory it has a much different
view of the crime and deviance compared to the ones which are shown by Marxism
for example, this would be a structural theory as it believes the crimes are a
direct result of the what the people have no control over whatsoever. The
“Interactionists” believe that the social order of the communities and the
population are in a constant state of negotiation and construction, which means
what is referred to as crime and deviance will be negotiated compared to the
other theories such as Marxism. However, in many cases there have been
criticisms of this “Labelling Theory” which are that that It doesn’t explain
why there are people committing the crimes in the first place, this theory is
also deterministic which stops people from having free will and it will neglect
the power that the social structure has which in turn doesn’t explain why
people are identified as criminals repeatedly. The Labelling theory will
identify deviant acts which are committed by the individuals, this point infers
that criminals commit deviant behaviour to gain the status that they may crave.


Within the
explanations of associated with criminal behaviour there are influencing
factors that contribute to them in the Crime Control Policies such as CCTV,
Neighbourhood watch, ASBOs, Zero tolerance and Broken Windows.

The CCTV is
a Right Realist view on crime as it will deter people from committing crimes
and will be used to show if they have committed a crime. CCTV uses unmanned mounted
cameras to record live images, the use of CCTV was developed in the 1970s to
help combat theft of high value targets such as banks as well as people
committing crimes such as assault and other crimes. There are also ways that
crime will be reduced from this as criminals are more likely to be caught. The Right Realist would use the CCTVs
as a way of deterrence as it makes criminals cautious of committing any act of
crime, statistics carried out by Campbell Collaboration and the NACRO show that
has been most effective in reducing vehicle crime and theft. Crime has
decreased by 51% in car parks using CCTV surveillance” This has influenced the
policies of crimes as more CCTV will be used in more areas to monitor criminal
activity especially in areas which have high crime rates such as poor income
areas, some people would say that CCTV is being used to much as you will be
constantly watched in many countries such as America and the UK. This is
supporting the Right Realism view as the use of CCTV is deterring crimes
throughout countries and catching criminals daily, when the crimes are
committed in communities it destroys them and by using the CCTVs it will make
the communities better.

the Broken Window theory is used by Right Realists and was first introduced by
James Q. Wilson and George Kelling in 1982, this theory was said to be in
direct link to criminal activity in communities as there is a repeat of crimes
in those said areas. The Broken Window theory is when people see a broken
window in a community and would then start breaking more windows as it is a
regular occurrence that hasn’t been stopped, the windows wouldn’t be fixed as
it keeps happening. However, if this was to be policed correctly it would allow
communities to improve and to reduce the amount of crimes such as vandalism and
Anti – Social behaviour. This supports Right Realism as when the crime is committed
you’ll be punished for ‘Breaking the Window’ resulting in being arrested and
when seeing this happen it will deter others from committing crimes.

To add, Anti
– Social Behaviour Orders (ASBO) were first introduced in July 1998 by the
police under the Crime and Disorder act and was put together by the Labour
party to help tackle behaviour which wouldn’t count as a crime for criminal
prosecution. This was developed to help prevent further crimes from being
committed in communities as it stops people from being in certain areas and to
help people from not entering a criminal life. Left Realists will support the
use of ASBOs as they want to help people from getting into a troubled life
which causes them to cause more problems for their community, as crime
disproportionately affects the working classes of society, so the Left Realists
aim to help the communities which would be affected.

neighbourhood watch was first set up in 1982 in Cheshire but was initially set
up in the US due to it working well there. Neighbourhood watch is an organized
group that will help to look out for any form of crime in the neighbourhood.
Within a neighbour hood watch a group of people will try to prevent from crimes
from occurring by contacting police when they see something suspicious
happening. This is supported by the Right Realists as this will deter criminals
from committing any crimes as they will be cautious as they are potentially
being watched thus stopping them from committing crimes in the community. Also,
this allows criminals to be punished as there are witnesses there if a crime
has occurred and the neighbourhood watch can contact the police to get them

the “Zero Tolerance” policy is a view that police and others need to be “Tough
on Crime” as it will result in deterrence of others committing crimes. Zero
Tolerance started in America to replace the computer analysis of criminal hot
spots in New York and had eventually came to the UK, this policy is based on
the ‘Broken Windows’ theory and had been brought about by James Wilson in 1983.
They believe that there is a link between crimes committed and a disorder, it suggests that when there is
litter, broken windows and other factors it results in the well-behaved members
of the communities to leave as they fear the crime around them as they don’t
have the ability to stop others from doing it especially the youth. The Right
Realists support this is as it will deter people from committing crimes from
statistics from Det Supt Mallon “managed to
deliver on his promise to cut crime by 20% in 18 months – figures for the three
months to February 1997 showed a 22% fall” This will also result in
punish criminals from committing crimes as the police will crack down on crimes
in communities to make them better.


As there are
different theories for the explanation of crime it results in how each of them
deal with crime. Right realism has had a great affect on how crime is dealt
with as the theory will provide the deterrence and punishment for the crimes
being committed. The theory has influenced the use of CCTV, Zero Tolerance,
Neighbourhood Watch and Broken Windows as it will prevent people from
committing crimes and will punish those who do. The CCTV has been influenced
heavily by the Right Realism as the number of CCTV is estimated to be between
4-5.9 million cameras by the British Security Industry Association ( which tells us that there
is high demand for deterring criminals and punishing the criminals as they have
been caught. This will allow the likelihood of being caught extremely high as
you can be watched wherever you go. The use of Zero Tolerance has affected how
crime has been dealt with as they are extremely hard on criminals which causes
other people to deter from committing crimes as there is a harsh punishment for
those crimes, as the Zero Tolerance has continued it has caused neighbourhoods
to be better and it stops crimes being committed as they are not as easily
influenced to carry it out as there’s none in the area at the beginning due to
the good members staying in the community.

To add, the
Neighbourhood watch has affected how crime is dealt with as it has allowed for
the community to watch out for the area and report any suspicious activity
occurring or crime itself to the police, this has caused criminals to deter
from committing crimes in the area as there is a risk of being caught and that
when there is a neighbourhood watch it allows for criminals to be punished if
they have been caught committing the crime. The number of Neighbourhood watch
areas have increased throughout the years as they know it will help to deter
criminals and to catch them. Broken Windows have also affected how crime is
dealt with due to there being a high crime rate in areas as criminals see
‘Broken Windows’ and continue to break more which affects the area, but as
there is a crackdown on crime it will cause criminals to deter from crimes as
others have been punished and the community will improve on this which reduces
the amount of ‘Broken Windows’.

The Left Realism has
impacted how crimes have been dealt with as the ASBO will prevent teenagers
from committed more serious crimes as it can affect them in serious cases and
stopped them from having a successful life. The ASBO is stopping youths from entering
a life of crime and destroying communities, Statistics from GOV.UK show that
there have been a number of ASBOs distributed “total, 24,427 ASBOs were
issued between April 1999 and December 2013; the highest number of ASBOs issued
annually was in 2005 (4,122); since then, there were year-on-year falls in the
number issued between 2005 and 2012” ( this tells us that
there has been a crackdown on the number of youths that have been issued an
ASBO after 2005 which suggests that it works as it prevents people from
committing deviant behaviour.


Within the Positivism theory there is much criticism with it
as there are multiple weakness that come with it. Some weaknesses in positivism
are that it disregards human behaviour in the emotion sense of it as when there
are researchers conducting experiments they will ignore the emotion aspect of
the behaviour, however there is typically an emotional response as it comes
naturally with all human behaviour. Another weakness to positivism is that they
will tend to believe that you can measure anything to get results but there is
scientific inaccuracy when they are collecting data for research as they don’t
make large scale research, so they can generalise their theories. Furthermore,
this theory doesn’t really explain why people are committing crimes as there is
no solid proof to support it as the researchers may or may not influence the study
as their values may come into it due to them believing that all the researchers
are objective. A weakness in positivism is that it seems to lack the depth
needed to have a legitimate theory as it doesn’t show understanding of context
and is in terms of a deterministic view as it will show people as social

Right realism had overtaken positivism in many ways and
remained popular for a number of years. The fact that Margret Thatcher and
President Ronald Reagan were in power and they were right wing which resulted
in right realism to become more popular due to people pushing the views across
and discarding the positivists, the right did not support the policies that the
left had put in place such as the prevention of crime but would then put in
place the deterrence and punishment. Realism had overtaken positivism because
there was to much crime that was on the streets and was most likely perpetrated
by repeating offenders due to the ‘benefits outweigh the risks’ James Q.
Wilson. This then caused the punishments of crimes to become more tough which
was a part of the realist theory. This had been taken up by many in Britain and
the US, the realists started to discredit the positivists in numerous ways.
They began to state that their work on rehabilitation didn’t work as there were
repeat offenders and that it was to expensive to try and rehabilitate them when
they would just continue to commit crimes. Also, they suggested why there was a
need for finding the reasons of crime when instead you can reduce the chances
of crime to be committed in the first place, they also stated that crime is the
cause of poor parenting, single parents and family breakdowns as the moral
standards start to decrease. This resulted in right realism to be dominant for
20 years as the arguments had discredited the positivists theories

Additionally, Right Realism has many strengths in it theory
from explaining why people commit crimes. The strengths in Right Realism would
be that the home office made further research in the theory as it does prove
why criminals are committing crimes which shows that it’s made a great
contribution to society, also the theory had gained empirical support due to
the validity of the research through Murray’s research in family decline which
had shown that children from single parent backgrounds were more incline to
commit crimes compared to those who had both parents in their lives. Another
strength of Right Realism is that the theory gained theoretical support in the
formal and informal control theories and that it will look at the real reasons
and why crimes have been committed in the background sense. Also, this theory
has resulted in practical methods of control measures of crime and deviance as
there is official thinking behind it. Overall, this theory to the explanation
of crime has contributed largely to how we are viewing the reasons of crime and
how it is deterring people from crimes as well as punishing them for the