Why do people commit crime?

Police recorded crimes in England and Wales for year ending March 2017, listed by category of offence.Police recorded crimes in England and Wales for year ending March 2017

There are many theories to explain why people commit crime, but there is general agreement on how people become criminals. Criminal behaviour fits into one, or more than one, of these categories:

  • criminal behaviour can be caused by a person's free choice
  • criminal behaviour can be caused by a person's environment, eg a broken home or failure at school could be a catalyst for the change to becoming a criminal
  • criminal behaviour can seem like the only option for a person if they are unable to conform to society
  • criminal behaviour can develop through being associated with other criminals