Violent Crimes And Theories

1900 Words8 Pages
Violent Crimes and Theories Violent crimes are a major concern for United States citizens. Although there has been a decrease in violent crime, it is still a huge problem nationwide that needs to be under more control. What causes a person to become criminal is a question that many theorists would love to fully understand. In the past, criminologists believed that people were simply born criminals. Today, there are several theories on why people commit crimes. I will examine the rational choice theory and trait theory to get a better understanding of why people become violent offenders. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, “violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault” ( The UCR describes the following violent crimes: “Murder and non-negligent manslaughter are defined as the willful killing of one person by another. Forcible rape is defined as the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Attempts or assaults to commit rape by force or threat of force are also included. Robbery is defined as the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care custody, or control of a person or persons by force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear. Aggravated assault is an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury”( Why do people engage in these violent criminal acts? Do people have the choice and free will or do individuals have certain traits that make who they are? Cesare Beccaria, the founder of the classical theory, “believed that criminals weighed the benefits and consequences of crime before choosing to violate the law. They would be unlikely to choose crime if punishments were swift, certain, and severe” (Siegel, page 84).
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