Deviance is an act in which a person violates social norms of his/her society. People who violate the existing norms of the society are considered as deviant or criminal. The deviant activities differ from one society to another because of the values and characteristics of particular society. A drug user may be considered highly deviant by some people but not by others. Similarly, a couple who are living together before marriage can be considered “deviant” by some people whereas in other societies, such behavior may be considered “normal”. Homosexuality, intoxication and prostitution etc are some of the examples of deviant activities in those societies where these acts are prohibited.
Crime is a behavior that is prohibited by law. Every action which is against the laws, rules and regulations of the state and government are considered as crime. The one who commits crime is called as criminal. Both minor as well as major criminals are liable for the punishment. The level of punishment is less strict for the criminals who commit the minor crimes like driving on wrong side of the road, violating the traffic signals and pick pocketing a less amount etc. such kind of criminals can be punished with the fine of money or warned not to do so again. But, on the other hand, level of punishment is high for the criminals who commit the major crimes like murder, bank robbery and conspiracy against the country etc.
Measuring Criminal Activity
There are thousands of activities which are considered as criminal and illegal activities. Eight of these are considered extremely heinous criminal activates like rape, robbery, murder, burglary, larceny, arson, and auto theft. According to the report of FBI department of United States, the crime rate has generally declined since 1981. This data is compiled by the FBI with the help of police reports from all over the country. Government is also conducting various surveys to measure the crime rates in U.S.A and other nations of the world.
Who Commits Crimes?
The nature of crimes depend upon the characteristics of people like race, age, social class, health and sex etc. The street crimes are usually committed by the youth while the professional criminals commit the major crimes. The people suffering from mental diseases commit the heinous crimes like rape, murder and terrorism etc. Hence, it is proved that the nature of crime depends on the characteristics of a criminal.
Theories about Crimes
There are various theories about crimes like psychoanalytic theory, frustration-aggression theory, modeling theory and labeling theory etc.
a. Psychoanalytic theory
This theory explains that emotions of human beings play important roles in their lives. It has been seen that the children who are growing up with loving parents, they root out their antisocial activities. This is because of the loving parents that children are directed to the safe channels such as sports or music. The children who do not have such caring parents may spoil their lives and fail to develop a safe roadmap for the future. The psychoanalytical theory defines that individuals react differently because of the absence of love in their childhood.
b. Frustration-aggression Theory
Frustration aggression theory reflects that when people are frustrated and fail to achieve their needs of love and sexual desire, they may become aggressive. Some people overcome their aggression in a good manner and some of the people become deviant or criminals. So in a nut shell, one can say that frustration and aggression are the emotions leading to the deviant and criminal activities.
c. Modeling (or social learning) Theory
This theory suggests that the people learn the professions by the others. In the same way, a criminal learns the criminal activities by the people with whom he is associating. This theory assumes that there are least chances to be a criminal by the person who is associating with good people. An innocent person becomes criminal after considering a criminal as his role model. Then he/she slowly and gradually starts to learn the techniques of crime and becomes a criminal in the future.
d. Labeling Theory
Labeling theory assumes that if a person is labeled as a criminal, he/she hardly quit the criminal activities. Many criminal involve in the various kinds of crimes such as prostitution, smuggling, theft and pornography etc. Society labels such kind of people as the criminals and crimes become identity of the people whether they quit it or not. So, labeling theory of crime gives us a clear idea that criminals are production of society and society is largely responsible for the people to be criminals.
Causes of Crimes
There are multiple causes of crimes. There may be as many as thousands of causes which are leading to the criminal activities. Some of the important causes of crimes which are common in every society of the world are given below.
Unemployment is one of the major causes of crimes in which a person directs himself/herself in the criminal activities to earn the money. It is often said that unemployment is mother of crimes.
Illiteracy is also another cause of crime through which people do not think about the hazards of crimes. Various people commit crimes because of lack of knowledge and respect of the laws of government.
Overpopulation is another cause of crimes where people do not get sufficient amount of resources for their basic needs. The people living in highly populated areas may commit crimes to fulfill their needs.
d. Psychological diseases
Psychological diseases also lead to the criminal activities. When a person become psychologically ill, frustrated, depressed or tensed, he/she may involve in the criminal activities to release these kinds of emotional stress.
Deviance is violation of social norms where as crime is an act in which a person violates the rules and regulations of state. Homosexuality, drug addicting, smuggling, prostitution, theft, terrorism and conspiracy are some examples of criminal activities. There are various theories given about crimes but social scientists are focusing on the theories such as psychoanalytic theory, frustration-aggression theory, modeling theory and labeling theory. As far as the causes of crimes are concerned, there are thousands of causes but few important ones are unemployment, illiteracy, overpopulation and psychological diseases etc.