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Theories of Crime and Justice

In this assignment, you will apply the theories you have studied to a particular crime. Conduct an Internet search and find an article about a crime in which you are interested. Crime stories are in the news every day, so this should be easy to accomplish.

Then, analyze three theories from chapters 22-41 in terms of how useful they are in explaining the crime that you selected. You may also choose to use other theories based on your own cited research.


Theories of Crime and Justice
Ch 22: Biological Theory
Ch 23: Classical Perspectives
Ch 24: Critical Criminology
Ch 25: Cultural Criminology
Ch 26: Cultural Transmission Theory
Ch 27: Deterrence and Rational Choice Theories
Ch 28: Feminist Criminology
Ch 29: Labeling and Symbolic Interaction Theories
Ch 30: Life Course Criminology
Ch 31: Psychological Theories of Crime
Ch 32: Routine Activities
Ch 33: Self-Control Theory
Ch 34: Social Construction of Crime
Ch 35: Social Control Theory
Ch 36: Social Disorganization Theory
Ch 37: Social Learning Theory
Ch 38: Strain Theories
Ch 39: Theoretical Integration
Ch 40: Criminal Justice Theories
Ch 41: Convict Criminology

Sample Answer


Globally, questions have been raised with regard to crime. For instance, how do particular individuals decide on how to engage in a crime? In spite of the costs, what are the reasons behind individuals engaging in these unlawful actions? What are the main reasons behind most individuals not engaging in criminal activities despite their current circumstances? It is for these kinds of queries that one ought to understand the study of wrongdoers and their actions, labeled as criminology. This paper seeks to examine a fierce crime, robbery to be specific with the aid of the various different theories that tend to explain the myth of criminology in general.

On June 15, three women were robbed violently in a home invasion in Long Island. Five or four men armed with guns, baseball bat and a stun gun invaded their home and ousted the said women from their beds and robbed them off their valuables. Although the police are carrying out the relevant investigations with relation to the said unlawful act, the bandits all below their thirties are said to have made off with an undisclosed amount of money (NBC4NewYork, 2015). Robbery is the theft of valuables or liquid cash through the use physical force by the offender or through the instigation of fear against the sufferer. If there is the use of a fierce weapon such as a gun in our case, the act is said to be forced or prepared robbery. Analysts suggest that unlike burglary, robbery requires indeed the presence of a casualty who under such situation suffers actual injury (Piquero, Brame, Mazzerole & Haapanen, 2002).

Consequently, statutes that govern the robbery crime have their roots integrated into the common law inherited from the Legal English system.  In the United States of America, different states usually define robbery in many diverse and prevalent manner, but their meaning often assume the same basic elements that manage any unlawful act. The vital essentials that create robbery to be a crime include, the taking, with an objective to simply lift, by causing mayhem, brutality or through any form of duress, the valuables of another, from their presence or person against their will.

Hence, it is significant to understand that robbery is that crime accomplished only through the application of the menace of violence. The use of such force can also be minimal and that the amount required turning around a theft or robbery largely depends on the situation and the parties involved. It is vital to understand that the application of minimal amount of intimidation or violence that is duly enough to force the sufferer to turn over their valuables, based on the nature of the offender and the victim, then a robbery crime is perceived to have occurred (Piquero, Brame, Mazzerole & Haapanen, 2002).

Self –Control Theory:

The self-control theory, also known as the general theory has over the past been associated with the emergence of social control theory. The notion of social control stresses the significance of having social bonds that eventually act as an insulating factor against all unlawful involvements; it is the self-control theory of crime that elucidates that having the low self-control, is a key factor that tends to lead individuals to commit criminal activities.  Nevertheless, the theory significantly focuses on that particular aspect in trying to evaluate criminology as a whole. According to Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990), there were other borrowed notions and aspects from reports and findings incorporated n order to make it the general theory. These concepts mainly came from the psychological, biological, rational and routine social theories of crime.

The self-control theory varies from the social control theory in what is believed to be the elemental susceptibility towards the application or committing of a criminal activity. However, it is also important to note the two coincide together around specific issues developed through early childhood and effective parenting techniques.  According to our case example where three women experienced armed robbery as illustrated above, self-control theory is a good example of how such a notion can be applied to emphasize on the self-individual control of some aspects, either when conducted alone or in the company of other individuals. This restricts the occurrence of criminal activities such as robbery, where there is the conception that lack of self-control could easily be applied to explain certain criminal behaviors (Coleman, 1990).

The Social Control Theory:

Over the past few years especially during the 60’s when sociologists sought to counter the different notions of crime mainly used to explain the criminal activity set up, there emerged the prominence of one theory with relevance to criminal perceptions known as social control theory. The theory of is made up of other existing concepts of social management. The theory further asserts that the integration of ties to learning institutions, family, and other relevant bodies of the population, promotes at a higher level, an individual’s capability in the application of anomalous performance. Hence, the notions’ main idea is to instill the belief that unlawful habits conducted by criminals always seem to take place if the said bonds are not well established.

It is logical to conclude that without such clear ties between the relevant stakeholders, crime is bound to happen.  Any individual in the community is said to have the possibility of conducting themselves in one way or another, and which may lead to unlawful acts otherwise crime. It is for this reason that this possibility ought to be keenly discouraged, and individuals seeking to eradicate criminal activities in the society as a whole informed about the same. The establishment and development of such kind of bonds are healthy for young individuals who in a close range have personal relationship socially within their families and institutional or collective establishments. Citing the robbery case above, it is important to create social bonds as early as possible in all institutions that an individual engages with in order to instill the perceived norms that will prevent the occurrence of criminal activities (Coleman, 1990).

The Life-Course Theory:

The theory is a broad-based approach where quite a number of subject matters in relation to criminal activity are applied. The theory establishes a broad and relevant connection that lies between the actions that individuals in life perform and the significant patterns in which life events occur. It is a major theory perceived to be a backbone of stability when it comes to criminology as a field.  This theory tends to explain how different human experiences especially during their childhood, seem to shape their behavioral outcome later one in life. Considerably, certain experiences passed from one generation to the next pose behavioral instability when it comes to negative influence on the same (Coleman, 1990).

Moreover, analysts suggest that influence is the primary focus when it comes to this theory. Throughout this theory, the experiences or factors that humans face while undertaking their daily routine tends to contribute highly in determining why certain individuals are more certain to engage in the life of crime while others have a lower probability of the same. With regard to the case scenario, it is possible to conclude that some of the robbery incidences that duly occur are because of those unlawful acts by persons with a backdated life experience of violent crimes such as robbery over their past years.


Having reviewed the theories in relation to criminology and with attention to a particular case scenario that involved violent crime and in particular robbery with violence, it is duly important to note that this particular area is growing with a prevalence in theorizing and research.  With reference to our paper report that includes an example of criminal activity and theories that support their eradication, it is easier to conclude that the social control theory is the most reasonable in terms of application with an aim of advocating issues that tend to affect communities, institutions, and specific individuals. Through the strengthening of social bonds that strongly lead to advanced moral grounds can see the eradication of criminal activities as required. It is significant for the criminal justice system to integrate policies and strategies that help integrate theories like social control while implementing their  systems to individuals or communities to enforce social bonds that minimize criminal activities.



Coleman, J. S. (1990). Foundations of social theory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

NBC4NewYork, (2015). Three Long Island Women Robbed In Violent Home Invasion NBCUniversal Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

Piquero, A. R., Brame, R., Mazzerole, P., & Haapanen, R. (2002). Crime in emerging adulthood. Criminology, 40, 137–169. Piquero, A. R., Farrington, D., & Blumstein, A. (2007). Critical issues in criminal career research. New York: Cambridge University Press.

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