Merton's Theory Of Crime

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rime and believed that crime did not happen because of the variety of changes in society which Durkheim had proposed but that the fact that social structure was wrong in the way that it makes available the same goals to all the people but does not give these people equal means. Merton suggests that this is what causes crime. Sociologists and criminal justice scholars have found links between poverty and crime however some researchers do not believe this theory because there are countries with a high poverty but a relatively low rate of crime. Merton’s theory links anomie with deviance and suggests that the disconnection between culture and structure can in turn lead to deviance in society. For example, people often talk about living the American…show more content…
Some of the family risk factors which researchers look at are education, poverty, parenting styles and practices and the structures of the family. Schmitz, (2003), suggests that a child’s wellbeing depends on a safe and secure home environment, positive and caring parent-child relationships and a consistency with discipline. Studies carried out have shown a link between children’s development of criminal behaviour when children are part of a family that has weak family bonds and also poor communication (Garnefski & Okma, 1996). For example, if a family has financial worries and a lot of children to look after, this can result in a lack of consistency with discipline which in turn may have a greater likelihood of encouraging an environment that may influence anti- social behaviour. A study carried out by Rowe & Osgood, (1984), in America found that identical twins living in a middle class family had more similar intelligence than non-identical twins however in disadvantaged working class there was no difference which implies that heredity plays a much smaller role in an impoverished…show more content…
The victims of crime report levels of stress and anxiety. Crime affects victims and their families and society as a whole. People feel afraid. For example, some people may not want to leave their home for fear of being mugged. This then in turn can result in people losing trust in their community. The conditions which criminologists suggest are causing criminal behaviour do not always result in criminal behaviour, what they do is increase the risk of criminal behaviour. The more risk factors a person is exposed to, the bigger the danger of that person engaging in crime. We have seen through various studies that the environment can change the brain and even though a person may have these risk factors this does not mean that they are destiny. Maybe if researchers looked at how to balance the risk versus protective factors. Anti-social behaviour not only imposes high social burden to society but also economic burden, including costs of the criminal justice system and compensations for victims and their families (Mc Collister, French & Ferry, 2010). Crime prevention is a huge economic activity and has huge social cost therefore effective social and economic policies in tackling crime are very important. Genetics can only explain a certain amount of criminal behaviour. Family environment is crucial to the development of a child’s brain and personality. Exposure to the environment shapes a person’s mind after birth (Schmitz, 2003).

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