Criminal behaviors serve as the major forces behind the poor wellbeing of the society. In this sense, the paper will revolve around the case of Ken Anderson, who was arrested for rape, kidnapping, as well as murder. Firstly, the paper will start with the case to detail how the defender was involved with his victims before subjecting them to the inhuman acts. Secondly, it will explain three major theories, including Rational Choice Theory, Trait Theory, and Social Structure Theory as well as how they explain the reasons for committing the crimes. Lastly, the paper will conclude with lessons learnt from the case and the subsequent criminology theories.
Keywords: Crime, traits, theory, case study
Why do people commit crimes
In all kinds of criminal acts, various forces drive individuals to participate the offenses. In this case, it is worth understanding what drives people to result to different forms of crimes ranging from murder to shoplifting. In realizing this, the case will revolve around Ken Anderson, who was arrested for rape, kidnapping, and murder. He is a major suspect for major cold cases in New York. He was involved with the disappearance of his wife who left him in 2008 and in 2016 raped a woman in Kentucky where he was arrested. Anderson is 56 years old charged for kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, and first-degree rape. He is a culprit for an eight-year-old case involving the disappearance of his wife, Corrie Anderson who left him. Moreover, the family of Corrie revealed that the relationship she had with Ken Anderson was turbulent. Even after she left Ken Anderson, he kept pursuing her. As for the victim that he raped, he had taken against her will after she declined from contacting him since he had assaulted her previously. In this sense, it is apparent that Ken Anderson is a person whose criminal activities pose serious threats, particularly to the people who have been involved in him in the past. He is a violent and mentally unstable individual who subjects his victims to severe torture before ending their lives. Therefore, his case demands evaluation to assist in understanding the forces behind his criminal motives (Lohr, 2016). The paper will utilize three major theories surrounding criminal behaviors including Rational Choice Theory, Trait Theory, and Social Structure Theory to facilitate understanding the major forces that resulted to the crimes.
Rational Choice Theory
The rational choice theory depicts that psychological, biological, or environmental forces that act on an individual do not influence criminal behavior, as it is the case with legal behavior. The Rational Choice Theory reveals that people opt to commit criminal activities, such as car theft, burglary, and assault among others voluntary and willfully, just as the ways they choose to attend college, shop at a grocery, or engage recreational drugs. According to the theory, therefore, criminal activities serve as products of choice an indication that persons usually make decisions concerning whether to engage in criminal activities (Cornish & Clarke, 2014).
Perceived as resulting from human choice, the Rational Choice Theory provides humans with the ‘criminal field agency.’ Individuals with the agency usually engage in various acts as if they have free will or free choice concerning the courses of action they follow. As such, they usually act on their unique behalf. The other side associated with the agency is the determinism thought. In this sense, individuals normally behave in a certain way not because they choose or want to do but, but due to a cause that acts on them compel people to behave in a particular way. Here, even though the Rational Choice Theory believes that crime is a product of people making choices for engaging in criminal acts, questions arise as to why certain individuals engage in criminal activities some times. Here, the answer is that people are usually guided by the considerations they make concerning the benefits and costs associated with a criminal behavior and the benefits and costs of a noncriminal behavior (Cornish & Clarke, 2014).
From the case study, the defendant would have resulted to assault and rape through choice. He was involved with the two women romantically. In this case, he might committee the crime out of free will or free choice. He might also have done so because of a cause that acted on him that led Anderson to behave in a particular way. For example, the two women had departed him, thereby leading him to follow them up and revenge. Therefore, the Rational Choice Theory would have driven the crimes that Ken Anderson committed.
The Trait Theory stipulates that personality traits might predispose an individual to a particular criminal act. The theory reveals that personality and genetics have the capacity of subjecting individuals to criminality. It revolves around a combination of both environmental and biological forces. In this perspective, our genetics set our parameters whereas the experiences we have determine the ways in which we act. Genetic and biological conditions influence the learning and perception of social behaviors, which are later linked to the prevailing environmental states. Many forces also determine the personality of an individual. Therefore, different views exist concerning what make up the personality of a person, the traits associated with a particular person, and ways of categorizing both the traits as well as the person (Siegel, 2015).
Furthermore, theorists agree that the major categories of the trait theory comprise of cardinal, central, as well as secondary groupings. For cardinal traits, they usually summarize the entire individual, such as a narcissistic individual. Central characteristics describe an individual as funny, kind, or loud. Secondary traits pertain to people in given situations. These categorizations serve as the vital forces that assist in profiling criminals. For instance, a person engaging in violent acts such as assault and rape might have the narcissistic cardinal trait. Such a person is always self-centered, and it is not possible to change the traits. He might also have central traits, such lacking empathy or capacity for manipulating since it is not possible to define him with these traits, although they can describe him. Lastly, he might have secondary traits affiliated with intimidation and charm since he can use the traits to his advantage and manipulate (Siegel, 2015).
Based on the inhuman acts that Ken Anderson undertook by assaulting and raping his two women victims, it is apparent that the Trait Theory can play a crucial role in terms of explaining why he engaged in the crimes. He can be considered as a self-centered person who does not want his victims succeed after leaving him. He also subjects them to treacherous and traumatizing situations without caring about their wellbeing. In this sense, Ken Anderson is not an empathetic individual, thus leading him to commit the inhuman acts to his victims.