General Determinants of Criminality: A Social Reality or Academic Fiction?

Tomas Rudzkis


There is a popular belief, which can be found in various literature, that there are general causes and conditions of criminality and a variety of determining factors are exampled. Since the discovery that cohesion of such a kind would have an enormous practical value, this article is dedicated to analysing the validity of the attitude in question in greater detail. Indeed, society is in favour of prevention of criminality versus elimination of the outcome of the latter. But having assessed a long time period of dynamics of criminality a question naturally emerges—is it possible to discover the general determinants of criminality? If they would be prevented, there shouldn’t be a long-lasting, steady, or even an accelerated growth tendency observed in Lithuania. Are there any factors related to either the identity of the criminal, social environment or concrete situation which could determine any criminal act?
Using propositions of probability theory it has been shown that the general determinants of criminality are academic fiction. The validity of the findings was approved by triangulation of the techniques: some common determining factors referred to in scientific literature were denied on the grounds of deductive reasoning, correlations were verified by application of regression models, which revealed the stochastic relationship among part of criminality (in this case—theft and burglary) and some “general causes and conditions of criminality” that the literature refers to, but disproved the cohesion of the latter with criminality in its entirety.
Given the fact that the legal provisions define prevention of criminality as a leverage measure on criminality aimed at precluding from crime committed by identifying and removing general causes and conditions of crime, also referring to extensive funds and human resources allocated for this activity as well as spread of criminality in the country, such a flawed attitude should be reconsidered both at the academic and state level.


criminality; criminological analysis; statistical data; determinants of criminality; stochastic methods

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236