Criminology theories

Criminology theories

There is a wide range of Criminology theories that have emerged in the recent past to explain the cause of crimes and what drives people to commit crimes. The purpose of these theories is to aid in determining the root causes of crimes and hence help to resolve how crimes can be handled and prevented. Theorists also attempt to provide an explanation why the offending rates are not uniform among the male and female gender and also to explain the reason for desisting of delinquency with age and the role of different institutions in different crimes and conformity. This paper is hence going to review rational choice theory, social disorganization theory and social control theory and how they explain the driving factors that make a person commit crime especially the rape crimes.

The statistics provided by the department of justice of the United States indicate that in 2013 there was a total of 173,610 rape victims who were above the age of 12, a number representing 0.1% of the population. A prevalence many argued that could be higher but is probably suppressed by the police department by failing to record most rape cases that are committed alongside crimes like murder and also other victims declining to report the cases due to varied reasons. The department of justice give the definition of rape as any penetration it does not matter how light it into the vagina or anus with an object or body part without the consent of the victim.

The prevalence rate among the United States women who have underwent rape at once instance in their life, according to different research carried out by different agencies gives a range of between 15% – 20%. According to the research carried out by National Violence against women survey in 1995 gives a prevalence rate of 17.6%. A study carried by the department of justice in 2007 basing the focus on rape found that the prevalence rate of rape cases was at 18%. But the report presented by the department of justice in March 2013, the Bureau of Justice Statistics computed that the annual rate of sexual assault or rape on women declined by 58% between the years 1995 to 2013.

The prevalence of rape cases shows a declining trend over the years i.e. as indicated in the department of justice statistics a decline from a high of 5.0 victimizations out of every 1000 females of age 12 and above in 1995 to a low of 2.1 out of every 1000 in 2013. Assaults on young women aged 12-17 declined from 11.3 per 1,000 in 1994-1998 to 4.1 per 1,000 in 2005-2010; assaults on women aged 18-34 also declined over the same period, from 7.0 per 1,000 to 3.7. While conducting the research on women in the colleges regardless to the institutional enrollment status it found out that 4.3 out of 1000 (0.4%) would be sexually assaulted, and the other women at 1.4 per 1,000 (0.1%) (Sinozich, intern, & Langton, 2014). The statistics implicate that the youth who are majorly college students get involved in rape crimes more than any other groups.

Theories that touch on rape crime.

Social disorganization theory explains that a person’s physical and social environment plays a notable role in the behavioral choices that a person makes (Miller, 2009). A neighborhood that has fraying structures such as vandalized structures, vacant buildings are prone to high crime rates.  The high number of people who get involved in criminal activities such as rape crimes often take advantage of such cases and use them to commit crimes. The theory also asserts that those who occupy such areas also have a high rate of unemployment and thus get much time to spend on drugs and other stimulants that make them prone to committing crimes. A high number of rape victims and women in general often indicate that areas that have a low population with low occupant rate are frightening to access with fear of getting raped.

In the past and also the recent trends show that a community that does not put up measures to control its population especially the youths through schools are susceptible to crime cases. It, therefore, affirms the social control theory that designates that people are prone to commit a crime when there are no proper channels of reinforcement provided by the society through institutions such as the churches and families (Miller, 2009). The more an area has fewer facilities to train up good morals among its members it faces a high number of cases of rape crime. In these areas, the youths do not value proper education and hence have more time to spend in immoral acts including rape. The type of businesses run in such areas in most cases are unlawful and remain to impart poor character in the society, i.e. drug peddling. The victims of rape who at a time do not report their cases to the responsible law reinforcement authorities complain of rapes even by their spouses who in most cases are high on substance abuse.

Rape criminals in most circumstances would defend themselves by claiming to have been high on substances when getting involved in such crimes (Jewkes, 2012). But this is not the reality, in most instances those getting involved in such crimes often are aware of what would befall them, and the consequences of their criminal acts. It vindicates the rational choice theory that explains that people get involved in crimes after weighing out the potential risks i.e. getting caught (Miller, 2009). The repercussions of a rape case are huge, and those who get involved may be locked up for the crime as long as there is sufficient evidence. It is a law that every individual is fully aware of but still many would choose to commit such a crime. Some cases are reported that are caused by the people in authorities such as politicians, people who are expected to be well versed with the consequences of committing rape crime. Even with proper jurisdictions and law reinforcement facilities as prison being put up and strengthened by the government people would still choose to commit rape crimes.

In conclusion, the exact reasons that may move people into committing a crime remains at large an open question that is yet to be fully answered. The theorists who have tried to get to the core of answering the causes to these crimes have tried to give a direction that is logical to answer the causes of the crimes and what could influence a person to commit a crime.  The social control theory, deterrence and rational choice theory and Social disorganization theory, give a clear reason and causes that draws people to get involved in crimes (Miller, 2009). The arguments presented by the theories also supports the demographic outcomes that show that men and especially the youth are the highest rape prone criminal groups  i.e. the highest reported rape victims being college students. The responsibility of a government is, therefore, to ensure that security is well provided for all its citizens including in areas that may influence the acts of crime such as vacated areas to ensure a complete elimination of the rape crimes.


Jewkes, R. (2012). Rape Perpetration. A review. Pretoria, Sexual Violence Research Initiative.

Miller, J. M. (2009). 21st Century CRIMINOLOGY A Reference Handbook. Washingtone DC: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Sinozich, S., intern, B., & Langton, L. (2014). Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, 1995-2013. Bureu of Justice Statistics.

Crime strategy