Factors Affecting Criminal Behaviour

Factors Affecting Criminal Behaviour

Psychological Factors

Many forms of mental illness affect a person’s behaviour. Important during the criminal process and may be raised by the prosecution or defence during a trial. May also be taken into account during sentencing.

Social Factors

Influence a person’s attitude towards crime incl. family situation or personal relationships. Groups associated with may also influence attitudes. Environment a person is raised in may also influence behaviour. Differential association.

– Statistically people are more likely to commit crimes if they come from a poor or disadvantaged background

– If people are surrounded or brought up with criminal behaviour around them then they will be more likely to

commit crimes themselves because it is seen by them to be socially acceptable to do so

Economic Factors

One of the most substantial reasons for committing a crime is for economic gain. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to commit crimes than any other group. Poor education or lack of skills which leads to a higher chance of unemployment. For greater Economic benefit.

Political Factors

Offences against the sovereign or against the state. Public order offences i.e. riots may have political aspects. Include people with extremist left wing or right winged views on parliament or democratic and communist views.


·  Drug offences – profit or use

·  Property offences – profit

·  Offences against the person – revenge

·  White collar crime – greed and self interest


Extract from Legal Studies Stage 6 Syllabus. © 2009 Board of Studies NSW.