Richard was just 11 years of age when he set his first fire. He claimed it was accidental and remembers finding the experience scary but also fascinating. Richard went on to become a prolific serial arsonist that he would later admit provided him a sense of power and sexual gratification. He also committed a wide range of other crimes including sexual assault, auto theft, impersonating a police officer, burglary, theft, and prostitution. His preference, however, was setting fires. He could not resist the temptation to burn down larger and larger structures. What motivated Richard to commit such dangerous crimes? What risk factors may have influenced his desire to start fires?
Indeed, what makes someone like Richard more likely to become a criminal?
Researchers have studied these questions for decades and still do not have definitive answers. There are biological, behavioral, developmental, and situational factors, however, that establish correlations with criminal proclivity. Biologically, factors like overall temperament, brain chemistry problems, and hormone imbalances could be indicative of a tendency toward criminality. Certain developmental issues like cognitive ability, intelligence, language development, and self-regulation skills have also been studies for correlation. In addition, displaying such behaviors like deceit, impulsiveness, and manipulation may hold a connection to criminal activity.
Other compelling factors may germinate in social learning environments. Some offenders may believe that by committing crimes there are specific outcomes and/or rewards for doing so. Some commit crimes because they are frustrated in their efforts to achieve and succeed in life. Others may commit crimes simply because of the specific difficult situation in which they find themselves. For psychologists, understanding the permutations of criminality is important, but even more so is making determinations for treatment and predictions for future criminal behavior.
Post by Day 3 a response to the following:
Analyze your selected case study:
· What demographics or risk factors (e.g., acute, direct, proxy, short and long-term) are involved that may have contributed to the person becoming a victim or offender?
· How are the demographics or risk factors for becoming a criminal and victim related? How are they different? How would the demographics or risk factors vary in another country?
· If an individual reflects the data supporting the likelihood of becoming a criminal or victim, does that guarantee the outcome?
· Support your responses with evidence from the Learning Resources or other academic material.
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