Psychology of Crime
September 19, 2012
Week 2, Wednesday
Origins of criminal/anti social behaviour: early risk factors
“Individual attributes and experiences that increase the probability that an idividual will engage in
persistent criminal behaviour.
Static Risk factors:
Does not change, E.G history of violent crime, history of trauma
Dynamic Risk factor: changeable
Eg. substance abuse, unemployment.
Types of Developemental Risk Factors
1) Social Risk
eg poverty, peers, school
2) Parental/Familial Risk Factors
e.g faulty parenting, child abuse
3) Psychological factors
e.g inadequate temperament, poor self regulation
Not all crime has it's origins in childhood. If they go into adulthood there are other reasons that may
spur them to commit crime. Even if they have all the early risk factors in childhood they won't
absolutely commit crime.
Refers to not having enoug resources to maintain an average standard of living within a geographic
Poverty linked to:
-persistent violent offending.
-Non violent offending (not as strong as persistent violent offending)
-delinquency (criminal and anti social behaviour in adolescent and teen years)
Why is poverty related to violent crime?
(picture on slide show)
Poverty in a nebulus risk factor, it's fuzzy. Can't pinpoint what it is about poverty that makes people
engage in crime.
Peer rejection and anti social peers:
Linked to later anti social behaviour.
Child rejected by peers, tendency for that person to go on and become violent. In early school, peer acceptance is a crucial developmental task.
Psychological, social and emotional development
Children prone to peer rejection.
More aggressive, disruptive, impulsive, have poor social skills to make friends.
Interact with, and gravitate to anti-social peers. Deviant group membership amplifies anti-social
Early school failure linked to anti-social development and delinquency.
“Staying back” label
Poor reading achievment appears to play a prominent role in school failure & later deviance.
More idle time- not interested in school, more time on their hands to get into trouble.
Less acceptance by peers.
Poor attachment to school.
Decreased job prospects.
Family Risk Factors:
Parenting practices and styles:
Range of parental behaviours occuring in the family context including discipline, monitoring and
supervision, interaction strategies.
Eg. allowance, reading together, classroom voucher.
Parent child interaction characterized by parental attitudes toward the child.
E.g emotional climate, gestures, tone of