The nature argument

Polcie crime tape

Some criminologists believe one of the main reasons people commit crime is because it is in their 'nature', i.e. some people are more psychologically predisposed to committing criminal acts.

There is evidence to suggest that some people are naturally more likely to commit crime. Recent research shows there are people who commit crime who are more likely to get angry or have no empathy or understanding of another person's feelings, e.g. psychopaths.

Research of this kind has focused on the way the brain works in people who commit crime. By way of response, some criminals are given medication in the form of drugs to control their behaviour.

Criminological theories which look to the nature of the criminal as the cause of crime include:

  • individual trait – Criminals differ from non-criminals in a number of biological and psychological traits. These traits, eg lack of empathy, cause crime in interaction with the social environment
  • positivism – Crime is caused or determined by psychological and sociological factors

Most criminologists would agree that not all criminal behaviour can be explained by 'nature' arguments. A different set of reasons to explain crime is called the 'nurture' argument.