Criminologists have long recognized that socioeconomic disadvantage is a critical factor in predicting crime. This includes both absolute socioeconomic disadvantage (i.e., income inequality) measured at the macro level and relative socioeconomic disadvantage (i.e., the feeling of having less income than others).However, research has shown that there is a difference between the effects of absolute and relative socioeconomic disadvantage on homicide rates, with absolute poverty often being associated with lower homicide rates and higher rates for those with less wealth.These findings are important because they point to the importance of addressing local economic and social problems in areas where violence occurs, as well as those that affect larger populations. These societal drivers are often difficult to change and will require significant effort over decades.Another area of concern is the impact of criminal justice involvement on employment and educational opportunities. Many studies have shown that having a criminal record may be harmful to job prospects and that employers are often reluctant to hire workers with a criminal conviction. These factors have been linked to a number of negative outcomes, including increased aggression, depression, delinquency, homelessness, and hampered educational attainment.Criminal Behavior
Criminology is a social science that focuses on the origins, etiology and control of criminal behavior. It also explores the social reactions to crime and the functioning of law enforcement agencies and penal institutions.
One way criminologists research criminal behavior is through the use of statistical methods. These studies are often correlational and explore the links between specific non-criminal factors and different types of crimes.
Another method criminologists use is the study of case histories. This is the primary method used by psychologists and psychiatrists, though it can be challenging to conduct and is rarely published.
Researchers have also developed a number of theories about why people commit crimes and why some don’t. Some of these theories are based on behavioral psychology and focus on social learning. Others are based on socioeconomic issues and examine how neighborhoods, culture and identity interact with deviance and crime.
Criminology is a social science and, as such, the discipline is influenced by a number of policy issues that affect its study and practice. These include socioeconomic conditions, criminal behavior, crime prevention, victimization, and the role of the criminal justice system in society.
These policy issues affect criminology in several ways: they generate a variety of rationales for punishment; they influence the type of criminals apprehended and convicted; they impact how the criminal justice system operates (e.g., how police use force and how prisoners are treated); and they shape public sentiments regarding punishments.
Theoretical perspectives that explain the causes of crime, and how to prevent and reduce them, are an important aspect of criminology research. However, these theories are not without consequences, either for those they were developed to serve or for those who are impacted by their effects. Theorists must establish a logical basis, specify temporal order, identify a clear correlation between events, and avoid spuriousness to produce an accurate scientific theory of crime causation.
Criminology is a social science that studies the causes, costs and consequences of crime. While criminologists study criminal behavior they also look at society beyond the criminal justice system to determine what factors contribute to crime and what strategies can be used to prevent it.
Criminologists construct theories of crime and its causation, based on evidence, that are tested for accuracy through empirical testing. This scientific approach allows them to produce a vast knowledge base of basic facts that can be used by practitioners and policy makers.
Theory construction requires a number of elements, including sound reasoning, temporal order, and directional correlation. Using this framework, a criminologist can determine whether a relationship between the dependent and independent variables is spurious.