Do You Think There Is One Theory That "Best" Explains Crime? Essay
If so, which one and why? If not, why not?
I do not think that there is one theory that best explains crime and this is supported by the fact that until now, criminological theory continues to evolve. As society becomes older, more experienced and more sophisticated, criminological theories once thought to be sufficient in explaining crime become unable to make sense of new crimes. Thus, they had to be shelved and new ones developed that could adequately explain new crimes. The biological theory of criminal behavior advocated by Lombroso, for example, believed that certain genetic or biological characteristics predisposed one to criminality (Haley & Bohm 2014, p. 62). With the passage of time, however, it should have become evident to those who subscribed to this theory that even individuals with superior physical characteristics are capable of committing crime. Another example is the linkage of low intelligence and crime (Haley & Bohm 2014, p. 66), which became questionable with statistics showing that most adult criminals do not have low IQ.
I think that the reason why no one theory can adequately explain all crimes is simply because different people commit crimes for different reasons. Thus, James Holmes, who killed 12 people inside a movie theater in Colorado, did not commit the crime because he was of low IQ. On the contrary, he seemed to be highly intelligent with the way he planned the crime and rigged his apartment without killing himself. He does not look too bad either to fit him in with Lombroso’s biological theory, or be moved by poverty as a result of class struggle, in accordance with the conflict theory (Haley & Bohm 2014, p. 77). Comparing him and Jeffrey Dahmer (Haley & Bohm 2014, p. 68), for example, who was clearly a psychopath, Holmes had a good family background and an easier life. Although they both killed more than a dozen people for no particular reason, it is evident that the criminological theory underpinning one’s crimes do not fit the other. This suggests that no theory can best explain crime.
Haley, K. and Bohm, R. (2014). Introduction to Criminal Justice. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.