Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bad to the Bone: All About Criminal Motivation

What of the Future?

"In the long run, families, neighborhoods, and jobs are the keys to reducing crime," author Samuel Walker in Sense and Nonsense About Crime and Drugs (1994)

The development of crime theories is an evolutionary process that continues today. Crime is still a vastly complex, poorly understood phenomenon, and of course, there are no absolutes when it comes to human behavior. Whether the cause is demons, bumps on the head, genetics, DNA, food allergies, phases of the moon, brain injury or a package of Twinkies, crime is much too diversified to be neatly packaged under one heading. The motivational factors behind white-collar crime, for example, are much different from those for a sexual offense. No single cause can account for all types of criminal behavior. Theorists today generally agree that it is a blending of many factors, such as environment, hereditary considerations and psychological development that form the need to commit crime. But that doesn't stop criminologists and scientists from introducing new theories of crime causation whenever possible.

Some modern-day research projects have found provocative links between weather and crime rates. Even certain types of crimes, like larcenies and burglaries, ebb and flow with the seasons of the year. In fact, Department of Justice statistics confirm that most property crimes are committed in the warm summer months. Violent crimes seem to follow no seasonal path. However, several studies have been undertaken to examine the connection between phases of the moon and deviant behavior. One study conducted in 1983 found a statistical link between lunar activity and homicide rates in Miami. Another found a similar pattern in Cleveland. Still another researcher in 1983 discovered jail admissions seemed to increase according to the lunar tides (Vito and Holmes). The ancient Romans, when they spoke of lunacy, may have been closer to the truth than they ever imagined.