Gender Specific Theories of Crime Causation.


In Scotland, 83% of people convicted of criminal acts in 2014-2015 were males ( Females do commit less crime than males and still commit all types of offences. Males have a higher percentage than females in property crime -67 % to 14%- and violent crime -77% to 15% ( Female prison population has risen faster than males, 25% to 66% during 2011-2012 ( These statistics show that females have lower rates of crime compared to males, which can be due to sex-role differences in society.

Sex-role theory involves the process of socialisation and helps to explain gender and crime ( Talcott Parsons (1902-1979) argued that sex-roles within the ‘nuclear family’ are key in society (Thompson, K.2017). The father is the leader, while the mother offers emotional support towards children (History Learning Site.2017). Children are socialised into two sexes: male and female. Males are aggressive and masculine, while females are feminine and domesticated ( The norms and values in society associated with femininity are not related to crime, whisle masculinity is more likely to lead to crime (Thompson, K.2017).

The socialization of sex-role is apparent early in children (Boundless.2017). Girls are strictly supervised compared to boys, therefore resulting in boys becoming more delinquent. In adulthood, it creates the sense of males being criminals rather than females (History Learning Site.2017). Sex-roles also creates a sense of control over females as the patriarchal society does not allow females to commit crime. They are controlled in their family, work and society as a whole (History Learning Site.2017). Statistics show that women are less likely to feel safe walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark than men, 64% to 86%( proves the impact sex-roles has on specific genders in relation to crime.


Boundless. (2017). Gender Socialization. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017]. (2017). Gender | The Critical Media Project. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017]. (2017). Crime & Justice. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jan. 2017].

History Learning Site. (2017). Who Commits Crime? – History Learning Site. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jan. 2017]. (2017). Podology :: Sociology Podcasts. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017].

Thompson, K. (2017). Gender and Crime: Sex-Role Theory. [online] ReviseSociology. Available at: [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017].


Social and Environmental Theories of Crime Causation.


The Chicago School (1920) was a group of sociologists who attempted to undercover relationships between neighbourhood crime rates and characteristics in Chicago ( They were interested in studying the patterns and changes of crime rates as they started to increase (Talbot, D.2017). Key thinkers such as Robert Park, referred to Chicago as an ‘organism’ that is fighting for space in its natural habitat, similar to a plant ( Studies found that there is a direct link between the neighbourhoods that experienced social disorganisation, also experienced high delinquency rates (Anon.2017). Social disorganisation is when controls over delinquents is not present and the behaviour is approved of by the neighbours (Anon.2017). Criminal behaviour is passed on to others through interactions (

Park, Burgess and McKenzie designed a model to explain the structure of Chicago and the different socio-economic zones (Robert E. Park and Ernest W. Burgess.1925). The center of the model -Central Business District-  consists of all the  commercial aspects including offices, transport routes, shops and businesses ( This is continued into the Transitional Zone where there was industrialization which migrants were attracted towards despite the high levels of deprivation, overcrowding and run down areas (Talbot, D.2017).

Due to this, criminal acts were high in these zones as individuals were lacking qualifications to earn enough money and support their family (Robert E. Park and Ernest W. Burgess.1925). This migration caused there to be a lack of houses and space in the city of Chicago which caused economic competition ( However, the migrants had no choice but to move to the poorest zones, allowing previous residents a chance to move into better zones such as the Inner City, Inner Suburbs and Outer Suburbs (


Robert E. Park and Ernest W. Burgess.(1925). The City. Chicago: The University of  Chicago Press (2017). An Overview of the Chicago School Theories of Criminology | [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017].

Anon, (2017). [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Jan. 2017]. (2017). Robert E. Park, Sociology. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Jan. 2017]. (2017). Ernest W. Burgess “The Growth of the City: An Introduction to a Research Project” – Samantha Mitchell-Dix. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Jan. 2017].

Talbot, D. (2017). Society, Social change, and Crime: The Chicago School, Anomie and Strain. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Jan. 2017].

Personality Therories of Crime Causation.


Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) argued that personality consists of three structures which work together to create an individual’s personality: the Id, Ego and Superego (Science, L. and Nature, H.2016).

The Id, most primitive of the three is unconscious and seeks personal pleasure. The Ego, is conscious and rational, is driven by instincts of gratification. The Superego, somewhat conscious, strives for perfection and controls morality. Conflict is inevitable and can arise between each structure of the personality (Verywell. (2017). Freud used the term ‘ego strength’, referring to the ego’s ability to function despite conflict (McLeod, S.2017). An individual with a strong ego is able to function effectively, whereas, those with a weak ego can become disruptive. To obtain a healthy personality an individual’s psyche has to be balanced (McLeod, S.2017).

Freud’s theory argued that personality is the pattern of thoughts, emotions and skills that make a person unique (Boundless.2017). His concept of the unconscious mind allowed him to consider the majority of personality being unconscious, hidden parts which are responsible for individuals behaviour in society (McLeod, S.2017).

Freud argued that individuals committing criminal acts resulted from a sense of guilt due to the superego. It makes them feel guilty for no reason, to relieve this, they commit crime (History Learning Site.2017). According to his theory, guilt is present before crime, not a result of a criminal personality, but an ill psyche (McLeod, S.2017). Crime was only partially mentioned in Freud’s theory, but became popular in explaining crime- not predicting behaviour. His theory is unscientific, so cannot be proved or disproved. The unconscious mind can not be measured objectively (Mumic, I. and profile, V. 2017).


Boundless. (2017). Freudian Psychoanalytic Theory of Personality. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017].

History Learning Site. (2017). Why do people commit crime? – History Learning Site. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Jan. 2017].

McLeod, S. (2017). Sigmund Freud’s Theories | Simply Psychology. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Jan. 2017].

Mumic, I. and profile, V. (2017). Psychological theories of crime. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Jan. 2017].

Science, L. and Nature, H. (2016). Sigmund Freud: Life, Work & Theories. [online] Live Science. Available at: [Accessed 26 Nov. 2016].

Verywell. (2017). Freud and the Id, Ego, and Superego. [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Jan. 2017].

Genetic Theories of Crime Causation.


Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909) was considered a founding father of criminology. He approached crime and deviance with a biological explanation (Charles A. Ellwood. 1912). He believed that the genetic makeup of individuals may be a reason as to why they commit crimes by focusing on measurable characteristics (History Extra.2016). Lombroso’s theory of anthropological stated that acts of crime and deviance were inherited, he proposed the concept that individuals can be ‘born criminals’ (Charles A. Ellwood. 1912). He found some biological traits of criminals after 3000 anthropometric measurements (Mumic, I. and profile, V.2017). Lombroso argued that criminals could be identified automatically by specific characteristics such as arm length, face asymmetry and ear size (History Extra.2016).

Research on monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twin studies show more evidence that does not fully supports the genetic approach to explain crime. Monozygotic twins share an egg in their mother’s womb that splits to create identical twins and dizygotic have an egg each, therefore are non-identical (Difference Between.2017). Karl Christiansen’s (1977) found that of 3586 twins, 35% of male MZ twins; 13% of DZ twins and 21% of female MZ twins ; 8% of DZ twins committed crime (Google Books.2017).Advantages of this study is that there was a large sample of twins used compared to other twin studies. However, if there was only a genetic explanation then the rate for MZ twins would be higher (

However, Lombroso’s theory on crime with relation to genetics does not consider social and environmental factors (Doherty, M.2003). To fully understand the influence of genetics then other factors will have to be considered ( Individuals may be predisposed into believing that they will become criminals if their parents were one due to socialisation not only genetic reasons.


Doherty, M. (2003). Criminology. First Edition. London: Old Bailey.

Charles A. Ellwood. (1912). Lombroso’s Theory of Crime, 2 J. Am. Inst. Crim. L. & Criminology 716 (May 1911 to March 1912)

Difference Between. (2017). Difference Between Monozygotic and Dizygotic Twins. [online] Available at: %5BAccessed 06 Jan. 2017].

Google Books. (2017). MALE CRIME AND DEVIANCE. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jan. 2017].

History Extra. (2016). The ‘born criminal’? Lombroso and the origins of modern criminology. [online] Available at: [Accessed 06 Jan. 2016].

Mumic, I. and profile, V. (2017). Lombroso’s theory of crime. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017]. (2017). Genes, Environment, and Criminal Behavior. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Jan. 2017].