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Why Do People Become Criminals?

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There are several questions that surround this earth, and one major question I have heard throughout the years is: “why do people become criminals?" It could be a question answered, and simple as “people don’t understand right from wrong,” but it is so much deeper than that. A lot of individuals relate violence with religions, poverty, adrenalin, gangs, and many other things. However, there are also theories that believe that some individuals become criminals due to their genetics. If there are a variety of theories of why people become criminals, it makes it difficult to focus on only one area. Therefore, my primary focus will remain on the idea that your habitat, way of life, and thinking process influences the person you become.

According to the article “How Does Nature and Nurture Influence Human Development?” edited by Stephanie Mojica, “nurture can be defined as the different environmental factors to which a person is subjected from birth to death.” In other words, those who are born into a bad home or community tend to pick up a lot of bad habits. For example, if a person was to grow up in an abusive home and in poverty, they may become abusers as well and most likely live in poverty their whole life. Also, if a person grew up surrounded by gangs their entire lives or at least get influenced by them at an earlier stage in life, there are higher chances that they too will get involved in a gang.

I personally believe that criminals come to be because of the choices we make regularly as humans in a strange society. I grew up into a family where majority of uncles were part of gangs within the United States and Mexico, and where other close relatives imported weapons from Mexico to California and Michigan itself. If there was anyone viewing my life through a telescope I’m sure they were expecting the youngest child out of six to be the most affected, but that was not the case. Due to all the experiences I went through in my younger years, it made me realize that I didn’t want that kind of life. Instead, I started pursuing the dream of becoming a police officer. Even though I had set my goals like my sisters to make a healthier life for us, two of my brothers fell into addictions and the “street life.”

My experiences growing up made me realize how much environmental factors dictate your life. Unlike my brothers, I would spend my weekends in a church and during the week I attended school and played sports and never cared to try drugs like them. Even though we lived in the same home, we were always in different environments, therefore we made very different decisions. In the article “What Causes Criminals” in the Chicago Tribune, by Joan Beck, more males commit crimes than females, and people with lower IQs and temperament are most likely to commit a crime. Also, family problems apparently affect the boys more than it does the girls, because of the special bond the boy feels with his mother. I don’t have any children and I only have nephews in the family and I am not a male, so it is hard for me to understand the bond that unites a mother and son. However, that would explain the special attention the boys always received from my mother.

If males and females would move away from neighborhoods that were violent and tried to better themselves like it was meant to be, then the possibilities of becoming criminals would reduce for them and their children. I understand if a mother steals food for her children, but I don’t believe that robbing someone at gun point is a reasonable action. However, I know that there are far more reasons than just environment that make a person a criminal, but I don’t believe a person decides one day to the next to rob a bank or kill an entire family. The way I simply see it, and I know for sure that it is wrong, is that you either decide to be a criminal because you “can’t” get your life together or you’re to the point where being a criminal is no longer an option. 

However, there are many solutions to avoiding having your children and loved one become criminals—not that everyone can be saved. They say being open with your loved ones can help them make better choices. Also, sending them to therapy after a traumatic experience can keep them from acting out and becoming violent. I realize that not everyone grows up in a trustworthy home, but there are so many people out there willing to listen and help others out from the goodness of their hearts. There is always a solution.

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