The purpose of any theory of crime is to analyze criminal behavior and identify the factors that contribute to it. Every theory explains where criminal activity occurs, why it occurs, and how it occurs. One can work toward reducing the amount of crime that occurs or rehabilitating offenders by first understanding why a person engages in criminal behavior (Siegel, 2016). I committed a crime when I was eleven years old, and I can still vividly recall what happened. As a result of the fact that I was raised in a prosperous family, I was allowed to learn how to drive with the help of my father and siblings.
Even though I was well aware of the potential repercussions of driving while I was still a minor, there was a day when I stole the car that belonged to my father and drove myself to school. While I was driving on the main highway, I became disoriented. I accidentally pressed the accelerator pedal, leading to a head-on collision with another vehicle approaching from behind. When the traffic lights turned red, I should have applied the brakes immediately, but I did not. After the intervention of the traffic police, it was determined that I had committed three crimes: the first crime was driving while under the legal age, driving without a valid license, and the third crime was hitting a car that was waiting at the traffic lights. My father was contacted and settled all the fees and costs associated with it.
Classical theory was the impetus for my illegal behavior as a juvenile. This theory asserts that people deliberate before engaging in illegal activities; that when someone commits a crime, it is because the individual decided that it would be to their benefit to commit the crime; and that people think before engaging in illegal activities (Agozino, 2019). According to the classical theory of criminality, people are born criminals who cannot be dissuaded from committing crimes (Siegel, 2016). Based on this theory, perpetrators cannot learn to control themselves, regardless of whether the disability is mental or physical (Siegel, 2016). Consequently, due to the influence of biological factors, it was challenging for me to ignore the criminal act. I was aware that I was engaging in illegal activity, but I was so intent on improving my self-confidence that I chose to drive alone on the highway. It was not difficult to ignore the tendency because I had the opportunity to use my oldest sibling for company; however, I was ignorant on my side and did not take advantage of the opportunity.
The emphasis on a criminal justice system that included the police and the courts, in addition to correctional facilities, was brought about by classical theory. It is hypothesized that increasing the number of prisons and passing more stringent laws with more severe penalties are the most effective ways to combat and reduce crime (Siegel, 2016). In traditional criminology, free will explains why criminals commit crimes. According to this school of thought, the most effective method for reducing crime is discouraging criminal behavior by making it inconvenient or unsustainable for violators to commit crimes (Siegel, 2016). Based on this, I have been charged with the crime to deter me from committing the same infraction in the future.
Agozino, B. (2019). Humanifesto of the decolonization of criminology and justice. Decolonization of Criminology and Justice, 1(1), 5–28.
Siegel, L. J. (2016). Criminology: Theories, patterns, and Typologies (13th). Cengage Learning.