May 20, 2024

Obligate Law

Professional Law Makers

The Nature of Crime and the Possibility of Solutions

7 min read
The Nature of Crime and the Possibility of Solutions

With regard to the nature of crime, the various media have contributed to the blurring of fact and fiction. As a result, notions about the causes of criminal behavior have become distorted. In reality, people commit crimes simply because they chose to do so. The commission of a criminal act is not the result of behavior that suddenly happens. Criminals deliberately choose their course of action long before the subsequent act occurs. Yet, due to mass confusion, contemporary society deals with criminal behavior by explaining away such occurrences. A criminal act is seen as something abnormal and out of the scheme of “normal good” human behavior. Excuses abound and criminal behavior theory is typically pronounced in ways that are confusing and erroneous. As such, criminal behavior theory tends to revolve around therapeutic intervention, rehabilitation strategies and socio-political policy. Instead of assessing the poor choices people have the freedom to make, the external environment is examined to “justify” the aberrant behavior. And, although environment may be influential some degree, anyone can come up with an array of excuses. Such notions present scenarios where it is all too easy to mitigate criminal behavior on the basis of psychological dysfunction or oppressive social conflicts. The cops’ job is compounded by mixed messages, faulty intervention, misguided politicians and media distortions.

In short, criminal behavior assessment strategies must include good tactics. Criminals, like the rest of us, know exactly what they are doing. Their motives, means and methods are predetermined by them. Criminals basically control every aspect of their criminal behavior actions. They select their targets based on opportunity and the skill-sets they possess. Crimes are committed by people who seek personal gain for one reason or another. Solving the crimes that criminals commit requires a Holmesian eye for details and valid and perceptive interpretation. Good cops are effective and efficient problem solvers. They gather the facts and discount nothing until the evidence demonstrates otherwise. Figuring out the “why done it” of a criminal incident, and then following the leads to the “who done it” conclusion, requires patience and perseverance. There are no magic formulas or psychics to consult. It’s just a matter of applying experience, education and skills to the deductive process of careful investigation. Crime fighting is a continuum of painstaking observation and artful application of professional abilities. Profiling, for example, is only one imperfect tool among many tools. Criminal behavior analysis and subsequent criminal apprehension is an interdisciplinary continuum. The process draws on many aspects from autopsy to zoology. Assessment strategies must be proactively engaged in the evaluation of possible linkages between people, places and things. Assessing criminal behavior is an open minded part of the investigative process. Thinking skill, as related to all the possibilities, is a basic requirement. This is applied in contrast to drawing pre-judgmental conclusions. Suspending the inclination to make a snap judgment is important. Naturally, there is a tendency to play the odds and consider statistical measures of one sort or another. Yet, to hunt down criminals, proactive strategies are essential. An evolution in thinking must occur. Simplistic reasons about criminal behavior and the commission of crimes must be radically altered.

Case linkages, interviews and interrogations, science and technology must work together. Essentially, the fundamental characteristics of an investigation revolve around three basic concepts: information, interrogation and instrumentation. These basic principles are supported by other aspects that reinforce the process by which solutions are probable.

Criminal methods of operation become unique to the individual, although there may be general similarities. Each criminal may aspire to one level of society or another based on their behavior tendencies. His or her methods may be stifled or enhanced depending on education, training, fantasy, lifestyle, desire, ability and opportunity. He or she generally assesses the event based on a win or lose approach. This part pertains to the gain minus the risks involved in the commission of the incident. People tend to use what they know. They express their basic capabilities in their actions. We often apply our individual skill set depending on what we have learned. Criminals will pursue the path of least risk and resistance. Motive, means and method are still basic to solving acts of criminal behavior. As such, skills and abilities vary from one person to the next. Criminals choose to commit crimes because somebody else has something they want. Current sociological explanations for criminal behavior are far too general. Notions as to motive and intent are blurred by simplistic single causation theories and easy explanations.

Contemporary society has been misled about the nature of criminal behavior. And, not only is society misled and confused, but so are the various criminal justice systems. According to some, criminals are never responsible for their behavior. Excuses, easily invented, are readily available to rationalize away criminal behavior. We forget the motives, the why of what criminals do. Criminals, like the rest of us, play games with people. They know how to take advantage of vulnerabilities. Criminals look for opportunistic situations to exploit. The path of least resistance is essential. Early on, they have learned how to manipulate others and con the system. Our complex criminal justice system has become a legerdemain of smoke and mirrors, myth and metaphor. In addition, some of the academic types, operating under the disguise of academia, often point to the parents, neighborhoods, poverty, mental defect and anything else they can make up. Others will blame the police, prosecutors and judges. By “sleight of hand tactics”, using fallacies of inference, the truth becomes mired in fiction, television drama becomes reality. We are often deluged with reasons why there’s crime. This typically happens when the government reports the latest statistics. Academicians, clinging to ivory towers, may suggest changes in demographics, inadequate police budgets, complacency in “crime fighting”, and generally blame the government. We may even be told that violent crime trends by be a “statistical spike”. With such distractions, it’s easy to forget whose really responsible for crime: the criminals themselves. They make choices, knowingly and freely. Part of the investigative effort is to understand the thinking that criminals do. For the police, crime solving is challenging. Nothing is ever a simple task or an easy explanation.

To deter criminal behavior and solve crimes, strategies must be sure, swift, and methodical. There must also be a certainty of punishment. That’s what criminals can understand, which is the risk outweighing the gain. The nature of crime, in terms of the criminal, is beyond the simplistic notion of inner conflicts. It is a matter of selfishly wanting what someone else has. As long as we can come up with excuses for behavior, no one has to be responsible for anything. From a case solving perspective, the concept of free will and moral blameworthiness should not be replaced by notions of psychological or sociological determinism. These views allow the criminal to escape accountability. They cloud the motive, the means and method by which crimes are committed. Instead, such notions focus on the mythical protection of society through the reform of the criminal. As a result, sometimes before the criminal is caught, he or she has become the victim. A role reversal occurs. The real victim becomes forgotten in blur of a media blitz. Assessing criminal behavior, based on a profile of the crime, should focus on the facts of the case. Apprehension, deterrence and prevention of crime is a responsibility that belongs to law enforcement. Understanding the nature of crime concerns issues related to how individuals respond to the environmental. Preventive conditions must confront criminals at every turn. Consequences of criminal behavior must be met by skilled personnel, as well as technological and forensic strategies. Materials and resources must be expended to ensure competent case solving approaches. Early interdiction in criminal behavior would be an ideal situation.

Law enforcement must provide leadership in crime analysis, criminal behavior assessment, technological advances, forensic sciences and crime solving strategies. Highly qualified, competent and well-trained personnel are essential for the police agency. They must be recruited, trained and educated accordingly. Governmental budgetary processes must support effective and efficient police services. Urban planning and growth management must include the police as matter of public of policy. Community planning should be subjected to law enforcement oversight. Activities performed by the police that are not enforcement related should be reduced or eliminated. A careful in-depth job task analysis should be conducted in every agency. Part of the intent would be to maximize the number of officers dealing with operational and tactical issues, as opposed to administrative tasks. Solutions to crime can be found through an analysis of environmental opportunities and conditions which allow crime to occur. These are community oriented elements. Criminal behavior is self-learned behavior, and controlling crime involves reducing the opportunities for crime. Legal sanctions must be enforced to be effective if crime control measures are to succeed. The criminal must be treated directly for his/her criminal behavior and not rewarded for such behavior. There must be consequences. And, not treated indirectly as the symptom of some inner conflict. Crime control measures must be sure and swift. Excuses should not be used to escape accountability or responsibility. This applies regardless of one’s socio-economic status, political influence, judicial connections, corporate standing or price of legal counsel. Crime, criminal behavior and social disorder will not be controlled unless serious interdiction strategies are used to alter present approaches.

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