Home / papers / A general theory of crime

A general theory of crime

The general theory is a theory that articulates issues that are related to crime. I concur with this theory since Gottfredson and Hirschi presents a comprehensive statement that is completely new of what should be in the enterprise criminology. They argue that prevalent academic criminology whether sociological, economic, or psychological have not been able to explain about criminal behaviors that people can believe. This is true since criminology in the past was mainly based on willingness and crime was a natural consequence of the human need to seek pleasure and to avoid pain at all cost.

I think that since most of the theories of crime that have been formulated by researchers explain only a small fraction of the puzzle at a particular time, these theories can be said to be timid. This is not the case by the general theory since the authors try to criticize research that was done in the past and what they offer is a theory that explains crime at all times. Normally, such claims would be dismissed as to be wishful thinking. Their work has a high intellectual weight, and I think that criminologists will be forced to take notice and rethink some cherished assumptions.

Geis (2000) in his critique to the general theory asserts that the general theory is unsatisfactory since the simple and few elements in this theory are not stated clearly to be understood by people. I think this is true because since Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) wanted to make the general theory simple and have as few elements as possible, they disregarded some important information just to make sure that the theory is simple and contains few elements.


GEIS, G. (2000). On the Absence of Self-Control as the Basis for a General Theory of Crime:: A Critique. Theoretical Criminology, 4(1), 35-53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1362480600004001002

Gottfredson, M. & Hirschi, T. (1990). A general theory of crime. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.


Related: Crime Mapping and Spatial Analysis