Theories on Deviant Behavior

Petty crimes can be explained by two theories of deviant behavior, namely anomie-strain theory, and conflict theory. One crime, of deviant behavior that tries to demonstrate why people commit or take part in criminal acts, is referred to as ‘strain theory’ (Wilkins 2003). As stated by Cote (2002), this theory argues that petty crimes, like robbery and assault, are the outcome of lower-class resentment and disgruntlement, and that the heightened strain of being incapable of attaining desired socioeconomic status produces an intensified level of strain, bringing about criminal behavior. Robert Merton introduced the theory of anomie. He adjusted the initial description of anomie to accurately encompass our society’s present socioeconomic conditions. He formulated four ‘abnormal’ forms of adaptation to classify individuals (Franzese 2009). These four categories precisely explain petty crimes. The first form is ‘innovation’, and is displayed by individuals who resort to unlawful means when their lawful means of economic growth is hampered. Some perfect examples of this form of deviant are robbers or shoplifters. The ritualist is the second form of deviant, who complies with an established paradigm while disregarding cultural directives about achievement (Clinard amp. Meier 2010). The retreatist’ is the third form of deviant, who despises everything and everyone in society. These people are usually petty offenders, like vagabonds or drug addicts (Clinard amp. Meier 2010). As stated by Regoli and Hewitt (2009), the rebellious’ form is the fourth deviant, who despises society but wants to transform it. Another cause of petty crimes is referred to as ‘relative deprivation’, which can have an effect on all environments or localities, for it depends on the small disparities between individuals, rather than considerable poverty to thrive.

Back To Top