I believe that this question is important for understanding the essence of crimes. Their background and main driving forces allow us to find a proper way to prevent them, as well as decrease the number of recidivism incidences. I believe that the majority of crime is violent in nature, but I interpret violence in this case in somewhat other manner, than it is commonly understood. To explain this statement, I will describe what violence is in my point of view, why it can become the source of crimes and how this knowledge can be used to change the current situation.
So, what is violence? It is the intentional use of physical power or force, actual or threatened, against another person, oneself, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in death, injury, maldevelopment, psychological harm, or deprivation (Krug et al., 2002). This definition shows the core of the concept in a comprehensive way, which is why I want to pay more attention to the issue of why people can start doing violent actions.
There are different kinds of people. Some of them commit crimes, others become victims, and there are people who never face it in their life. I think that there are certain reasons lying behind this distinction. In my point of view, the distinction is based on the way people are brought up and how they live. It is not a secret that some traumas that people receive when being children influence their life as adults to a considerable extent (Fantuzzo & Fusco, 2007). The way they perceive the world, handle the difficulties that arise in life, get joy from what they do – all of this is founded on the experiences they had as children. On the basis of these factors the extent to which people are happy with their lives is formed.
I believe that it is the most essential factor when speaking about violence. In this case, those who tend to be more openly dissatisfied with their lives – who are constantly complaining of their way of living – are less dangerous than those who are peaceful and calm until some crucial moment. The latter kind of people tends to be the most violent in such critical moments, which can be explained by the feeling of dissatisfaction that they suppress in their daily life.
Suppression of any emotions is not healthy for people, as psychologists claim. Of course, it doesn’t mean that we should break the social norms due to some emotions that we feel from time to time, especially if it is aggression or some other negative feeling. In this case it is necessary to admit that you have this feeling, understand where its roots are and do something with the roots. It is always better to change some annoying or dissatisfying aspects of your life, than to ignore them. Sometimes people just don’t think that it is possible, which becomes the basis for such suppression (Fusco & Fantuzzo, 2009). But in fact, they just see one way out, which can really be not accessible for them. They just forget to look for the other ways out, to consider changing their attitude to the problem they face. It is a special skill – of such careful consideration of options, which helps people live much happier life.
Those people who tend to grumble and complain don’t completely suppress such emotions, which is why there is a possibility of their committing crimes based on violence, but it will be not so cruel as in the event of people who are calm, but are deeply unsatisfied with their life. Such people choose to complain, because they don’t see the way out of such situations, but in fact want to change it (Volavka, 1999). The problem here is that often people get used to complaining and in the course of time they can become aggressive, can easily offend people and make the life of people around them miserably and unhappy. Complaining becomes the meaning of their life and they stop receiving joy from other actions and events. I believe that such people need professional help, but until they admit that they have such problems in life, no therapy can help them. But they are not likely to commit violent crimes.
The other kind of people – those who are calm and can even seem happy, but in some moment of life can break down – they are the most dangerous. Often such people don’t like grumblers, because they think that those are weak people, and that it is necessary to calmly tolerate everything that happens in this life. They don’t understand that such tolerance is in fact harmful for them and can eventually lead to unpredictable consequences (Overton, Hensley & Tallichet, 2012). This effect can be compared to the balloon that is filled with air until it bursts out. Air in this case is the suppressed emotions.
So, I believe and my research confirms it that the majority of crimes are committed on the basis of violence, but it is necessary to look into the roots of this violence to find a solution that could prevent crimes (Gilligan, 1997; Pinker, 2007). It is necessary to understand that what drives the violence is shame, dissatisfaction with life, suppression of emotions. It is necessary to deal with these emotions, to show people how to handle them and to be satisfied with their lives. When people know what they live for, when they can sincerely say that they are happy, they will never commit crimes. And the possibility for such people to become victims of crimes is also lower.
I think that the reason why today the recidivism rates are high is that the roots of the violence are often not considered (Spohn & Tellis, 2012). Practically always it is stated that violence is the reason of crime, but usually we don’t look deeper. There are certain attempts to find the problem, such as decreasing the violence description and depiction in media. But I think that the most effective way that can really solve the problem and prevent people from committing crimes is teaching people how to cope with their emotions and make a resource out of them.
I think that such a solution of the problem could have prevented not only violent crimes, but also a considerable part of the other ones – such as crimes based on despair, boredom, passion. People tend to underestimate the importance of their emotions and don’t think that it is necessary to learn how to handle them. It could have been the case if we would have lived in isolation from the society. But if we take into account the fact that today it is not possible and that society is important for us, it is necessary to consider the influence it has on us and how our emotions can influence it. I believe that learning how to be happy and satisfied with life is a real art. In order to do it, it is necessary to know how to listen to yourself, how to express emotions so as not to get violent and commit crimes.
It is also necessary to pay enough attention to the next generations, as often people don’t want to see that their actions influence the life of their children to a great extent. Instead, society tends to blame TV and video games for violence, and some advertising for alcohol addiction and smoking. But I think that it is necessary to face the reality that we have – all our actions are important and influence the society. We have to live a happy and complete life to decrease the number of violent crimes. It is also better to share this knowledge with the others to make this world a better place to live.
Fantuzzo, J. W., Fusco, R.L. (2007). Children's Direct Sensory Exposure to Substantiated Domestic Violence Crimes. Violence and Victims, 22(2), 158-171.
Fusco, R. A., Fantuzzo, J.W. (2009). Domestic violence crimes and children: A population-based investigation of direct sensory exposure and the nature of involvement. Children and Youth Services Review, 31(2), 249–256.
Gilligan, J. (1997). Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic. New York: Vintage Books.
Krug et al. (2002). World report on violence and health. World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2002/9241545615_eng.pdf
Overton, J.C., Hensley, C., Tallichet, S.E. (2012). Examining the Relationship Between Childhood Animal Cruelty Motives and Recurrent Adult Violent Crimes Toward Humans. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 27(5), 899-915.
Pinker, S. (2007). A history of violence. Retrieved from http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/articles/media/2007_03_19_New%20Republic.pdf
Spohn, C., Tellis, K. (2012). The Criminal Justice System’s Response to Sexual Violence. Violence Against Women, 18(2), 169-192.
Volavka, J. (1999). The Neurobiology of Violence: An Update. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 11, 307-314.