16 Causes of Crime Essay (with Solutions)

This essay on the causes of crime will examine the major factors accounting for the increase in the crime rate such as the breakdown in societal values, proliferation of harmful instruments, illicit substances, peer pressure, unemployment, advances being made in technology, globalization, broken homes, parental neglect and poverty.

We will also identify the possible solutions to crime in society. But we shall begin with the definition of crime and the types of crime prevalent in society today.

Are you looking for a complete sample essay on the causes of crime and its solutions? Then you have come to the right place. Sit back and read closely this sample essay on the causes of both violent and non-violent forms of crime anywhere in the world.

Definition of Crime

To write a complete essay on the causes of crime and violence, we must have a full understanding of what we mean by crime and the various forms crime takes.

Crime refers to acts by individuals or groups that go against the law and societal norms and are therefore punishable by law.

Types of Crime

So what are the types of crime in society? The major types of crime include hate crime, economic crime, cybercrime, white-collar crime, revenge crime and organized crime.

Under the above types of crime, we have specific instances of crime. While some crimes cause little to no physical harm or injury to the victim, others are so violent that they inflict severe pain or physical injury on the persons at the receiving end of such acts of criminal behaviour.

In fact, quite often, some of these crimes result in the deaths of the victims.

Again, murder and homicide are examples of crimes that mean the demise of the affected persons.

Below is a list of the many instances of crime that are on the rise in almost every society across the globe.

  • Embezzlement
  • Theft
  • Banditry
  • Kidnapping
  • Homicide
  • Fraud and scams
  • Murder
  • Battery
  • Assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Robbery
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Larceny
  • Rape
  • Tax evasion
  • Smuggling
  • Human trafficking
  • Drug trafficking
  • Money laundering

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The Causes of Crime

At this stage of our essay on the causes of crime, we shall take a closer look at each one of the causes of crime.

1. Breakdown in Societal Values

The breakdown in traditional societal values is one of the major causes of crime today. The amazing rate of modernization we see around us has increased our quest for material things.

Today, people are willing to go to any length to acquire expensive dresses, cars and mansions. This has, unfortunately, led a lot of people to believe that any means to the acquisition of material wealth is justifiable.

As a result, such timeless social values as honesty, hard work and integrity have largely been relegated to the background.

No wonder, parents, families and even religious leaders continue to aid and abet criminal behaviours such as embezzlement, kidnapping, internet fraud and the like.

2. Illicit Substances

Among the major causes of crime is the widespread use of illicit substances. The abuse of substances is known to influence the abuser to engage in criminal and anti-social behaviour.

Such anti-social behaviours are often perpetrated by individuals who have lost control of their sense of decency and morality due to the effects of the abuse of these substances

3. Proliferation of Dangerous Instruments

Again, violence, kidnapping and banditry are common today mainly because it has become relatively easy to acquire certain weapons.

The causes of this unfortunate development are many and complex.

In other places, the increase in conflicts has led to a situation where most youth have easy access to dangerous implements.

4. Unemployment

No essay on the causes of crime will be complete without a mention of unemployment. As the saying goes, the devil finds work for an idle hand.

Today, there are multitudes of both unemployed and unemployable youths roaming our streets and looking unsuccessfully for something to do to earn a living.

Out of frustration and desperation, many of these individuals join criminal gangs to rob innocent citizens at gunpoint. They have come to see crime as the only means to survival.

5. Globalization

Crime is now organized on an international scale. Globalization has made it easier for criminals or people with the intent to commit crimes to connect via social media and plan their nefarious activities.

The ease with which these individuals and groups are able to share information and exchange ideas and acquire illicit drugs and weapons is disturbing.

Government law enforcement agencies appear to have come to their wit’s end as to how to curb the activities of international criminal gangs such as money laundering, human trafficking and cyber fraud.

6. Advances in Technology

Today, cybercriminals are having a field day. Identify theft, fraud, bank data breaches and robbery, cyberextortion and ransomware attacks are on the increase.

With a click of a button, hackers are able to get away with millions of dollars from banks with weak or compromised cybersecurity systems.

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Furthermore, the increased use of social media has made it possible for many to become unsuspecting victims to so-called e-commerce ‘merchants’, ‘friends’ and ‘lovers’.

7. Broken Homes and Parental Neglect

As divorce rates increase astronomically in many parts of the world, children are left with no proper parental care or training.

Economic hardship has exacerbated the problem of broken homes. In many developing countries, for example, jobless fathers who cannot bear the burden of providing for their families are known to have disappeared into thin air.

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Without the care and guidance from their parents, many children have grown into adults with no positive moral grounding. These are the products of parental neglect terrorizing society with unspeakable criminal acts.

8. Poverty

Poverty is a problem we cannot easily ignore in this essay on the causes of crime. Some people engage in criminal behaviour simply because they are deprived of the basic means of livelihood.

Indeed, hunger and deprivation are among the major causes of crime in many less-developed countries in Africa, Asia and South America.

Crimes like theft, fraud, banditry and kidnapping are notable consequences of poverty.

9. Economic Inequalities

Rapid population growth rates, corruption and economic mismanagement by governments have resulted in a widening gap between the rich few and the majority poor.

Out of resentment, some people have resorted to hate crimes. Some incidents of robbery and kidnapping are purely a way by which those who feel left out of the benefits of economic development vent their anger and frustrations on the privileged class.

10. Peer Pressure

The rise in crime among the youth, in particular, is attributable to peer pressure. Impressionable as they are, the youth are easily swayed by promises of flashy cars and other material possessions to follow their peers down the road of criminality.

11. Low Self-Esteem

Closely linked to the peer pressure factor is low self-esteem. For some, a feeling of inferiority creates the need for acceptance and self-validation.

One way to achieve this is to engage in anti-social behaviour that their friends portray as acts of bravery or manliness. These are the individuals who are misled into occultism in secondary schools and many institutions of higher learning.

Assault, arson, kidnapping and outright vandalism are instances of crime that are linked to people grappling with self-esteem issues.

12. Role of the Mass Media

We must also highlight the role of the mass media in this essay on the causes of crime. There seems to be no control over the media in their portrayal of violent scenes on TV, the internet and in newspapers.

We have movies that openly show scenes of gun violence, robbery and the like. A lot of these scenes appear to glorify criminal behaviour.

No wonder, the phenomenon of unruly land guards who maim and murder people with impunity is on the rise in some parts of the world.

Moreover, the unguarded utterances of politicians and so-called social commentators have not helped matters.

13. Lax Law Enforcement

In some jurisdictions, the police have become accomplices of the criminals they are supposed to arrest and brought before the law. It is common knowledge that some law enforcement officers turn a blind eye to incidents of crime taking place right before their eyes.

Also, systemic corruption within the law enforcement apparatus has made it difficult for the citizens to assist the police and immigration officers in their effort to prevent crime.

Lack of logistics and equipment has rendered otherwise committed law enforcement officers powerless in their encounters with hardened criminals.

All these have continued to embolden some individuals and groups with criminal intent to rob, rape, kidnap and murder with impunity.

14. Ineffective Judicial System

Yet another factor worth mentioning in this sample essay on the causes of crime is the ineffectiveness of the judicial system.

The ineffectual justice system has also contributed to crime in society. Over here too, corruption is a major problem. Judges are known to have taken bribes and left lawbreakers off the hook.

The pervasive unfairness in the justice delivery system means that criminals are allowed to have their way. The notion of equality before the law has remained elusive in many parts of the world.

There are countless instances where judges have compromised their positions by accepting bribes from suspected criminals. Consequently, such corrupt judges deliberately allow criminal cases brought before them to drag on for years just to favour persons just to favour the suspects who have greased their palms.

This unprofessional behaviour on the part of judges and other judicial officers has contributed to a breakdown in the rule of law. The powerful are able to commit crimes against the less privileged without any fear of repercussions.

As a result, the aggrieved have often resorted to revenge crime. Fraud, murder, arson and kidnapping are some examples of revenge crimes.

15. Intolerance

Sometimes, intolerance has resulted in acts that break the law. Politics, religion and ethnicity are the major sources of hate crime in many societies. Every day, people are murdered, kidnapped or robbed all in the name of politics, religion and ethnicity.

16. Ignorance

Our final point in this essay on the causes of crime is ignorance. It is a known fact that some people commit crimes out of ignorance. In other words, such individuals are unaware that what they do constitutes criminal behaviour and is punishable by law.

Examples of crimes people can commit without knowing they are breaking the law include human trafficking, some forms of assault and burglary. What the majority of people fail to even realize is that ignorance is no excuse before the law.

Solutions to the High Crime Rate

We shall end this essay on the causes of crime by highlighting the possible solutions to crime.

Stricter Law Enforcement

Everything needs to be done to help all law enforcement agencies up their game. A disciplined and incorruptible police force, for example, will send a strong signal to everyone that you cannot break the law and get away with it.

Fairness in the Justice System

One way to stem the tide of crime is to promote effectiveness in the justice system. Fair and speedy trials will serve to make people begin to develop trust in the system.

And it will serve as a deterrent to anyone with a tendency to commit a crime.

Reduction in Poverty

It is the duty of governments to formulate and implement pragmatic programmes that will alleviate economic hardship within the population.

The resultant reduction in economic inequalities can help reduce the unprecedented crime wave sweeping across the globe right now.

Creation of Job Opportunities

One effective way to tackle the menace of crime is to create adequate job avenues for the youth. Apart from contributing to higher incomes and the reduction in poverty levels, jobs will also serve as an avenue for young people to channel their energies into productive activities.

The higher the number of employed youth, the lower the crime rate, all things being equal.

Promotion of Social Harmony

Politicians, religious leaders, traditional rulers and community leaders must actively promote peace and harmony in society.

Their actions and utterances can go a long way to engender a spirit of tolerance and love within the population.

Awareness Creation

Finally, to reduce crime, it is necessary to educate the population on topics such as criminal law, crime prevention and civic responsibilities.

Schools, religious groups, social gatherings and homes must be the prime targets for aggressive awareness creation on all matters regarding law and order.


This sample essay has laid bare the causes of crime in our world today.  These include globalization, parental neglect, the proliferation of firearms, poverty, peer pressure and intolerance. We have also identified the types of crime as well as some instances of criminal behaviour. Above all, we have seen the possible solutions to the problem of crime.

On what other topics would you like us to write an essay? Leave it in the comment box below.

Did you find this information helpful? Then share it on your favourite social media platform for the benefit of others you care about. Thank you!

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Ralph Nyadzi is the Director of Studies at Cegast Academy. He is a qualified English tutor with decades of experience behind him. Since 2001, he has successfully coached thousands of High School General Arts WASSCE candidates in English, Literature and related subjects. He combines his expertise with a passion for lifelong learning to guide learners from varying backgrounds to achieve their educational goals. Ralph shares lessons from his blogging journey on BloggingtotheMax. He lives with River, his pet cat, in the Central Region of Ghana.

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