Crime Causation- Multiple Factor: All You Need to Know

Crime Causation- Multiple Factor: All You Need to Know

This Article on Multiple Factor Approach to Crime Causationis written by Subham Banerjee. A 3rd year student from Kingston Law College, and an intern at Legal Upanishad.


Law is a subject which has the ingredients of different other subjects. The contribution of science in law is very much significant. The eminent philosophers and jurists like John Locke, John Austin, Roscoe Pound and many other have used science as a means to propound their theories.

Criminal law is also a sphere of law which is highly influenced by science because it deals with the conscience of human beings and one of the main ingredients of committing a crime is considered to be mens rea which means ‘guilty mind’ or a work done with the mala fide intention and there remains some causes that lead to the commission of crime. This article will be dealing with the causes, which are based on some factors that lead to the commission of crime.

Multiple Factor Theory:

Multiple Factor Approach is a theory which states that there plays a number of factors behind the occurrence of an action. Only a single factor cannot be taken as the only cause of that action. The Criminologists, as discussed earlier, use science to describe their theories which help in making their theories more legible. So, they have used this theory to understand the causes of crime.

Eminent scholars like William Healy, Cyril Burt and Sheldon and Glueck have done research and propounded their theories on the basis of the multiple factor approach. Their main point of discussion was that the cause of crime cannot be a single factor only there plays different factors which ultimately lead to causing of a crime.

Multiple Factor Approach to Crime Causation:

A crime can be described as commission or omission of an act done with mala fide intention. From time immemorial, philosophers have been studying the causes that lead to the committing a crime. They have come to a position where they state that there plays a multiple number of factors in the crime causation.

Multiple Factor Approach to Crime Causation
Multiple Factor Approach to Crime Causation

The various factors that are said to be responsible for the occurring of a crime are as follows:

Ease in Movability

The growth in technology, which can be said to be a result of the rapid industrialisation and globalisation; has made it easy for people to communicate with each other and transport from one place to another. This has led to a rise in human interaction on a very intimate level. This has helped a person, committing a crime, or having the intention to commit a crime, mix easily with people, giving them an ample opportunity to commit a crime. On top of that the reporting of crimes and the techniques of crime that is being shown in movies and shows has also led to rise in crime rates as criminals get to know new ways of operating.

Biological Factors

Biological factors plays a very important role in the determination of the cause of crime. This factor affects the behaviour and functioning of a human being. Biological factor includes genetic impact, nutrition, hormone levels, brain chemistry and gender. These factors affect the way a human being lives. These factors, generally, forms a very significant driving force behind the occurrence of a crime.

For instance, a person who does not have food to eat will generally be desperate in search of foods and if he does not get it by any means, it is very probable for him or her to steal some food to fulfil his hunger. Another such instance is that a person who is psychopath in nature can do anything because their hormonal level or brain chemistry is very different from that of a normal human being. There are some psychopaths who find satisfaction in murdering heinously. There are huge amount of evidences that proves this.

Economic Factors

Economic condition is an important factor for the crime causation. Every person wishes to live a life where his basic necessities of life are fulfilled. But inequalities in income lead to one person being rich and one very poor. This problem has been present in the society since the inception of concept of economy came into existence. In developing countries, this problem is more prevalent because of unstable economy which ultimately leads to more inequalities.

For instance the energy levels of young people are very high and they need to be channelized for making positive use of it. But if they remain unemployed, their power is misused and it mostly leads to crime.

Ecological Factors

The environmental features of a region affects the criminal activities of that region. It has been found in researches that criminal activities and crime rates differ from region to region. For instance crimes related to customs will be more in border or coastal areas than in other regions. Similarly criminal activities relating to illegal felling of trees and poaching will be more in forest regions.

Family Background

A human being tends to adopt the characteristics of situation in which that person grows up. So the family background of a person becomes an essential factor for the crime causation. For instance, a boy who sees his mother being a victim of domestic violence, and it is being normalised in his household, will most probably grow up himself to cause domestic violence.

Political Factors

Difference in political ideologies end up causing crimes. This trend is very much prevalent in India where it is heard and seen frequently that some person has been killed due to difference in political ideologies. The ideologies of a political party also lead to rise in criminal activities.

Cultural and Religion Factors

The cultural practice of a community can be a cause of crime. Ethnicity forms an integral part of culture of a community and it is often seen that killing of human in the name of ethnic cleansing has been done. Religion is also one such factor that affects the crime rates of a place. Religion is one of the most sensitive topics and the history of humans has been a witness to wars that started due to religion.

Suggestion and Conclusion:

Criminal activities are prevalent in the society since the inception of humans. As time passed, development occurred and the human society evolved which led to the increase of crimes. The needs of human beings started growing, their greed also started growing and resources fell short to meet those needs and on top of that inequalities began growing. This led to increase in the criminal activities. The factors responsible for the crime causation also became manifold. Absence of criminal activity is almost impossible but it can be lessened by the proper intervention of government.

For instance, education helps in lessening crimes, trying to reduce income inequalities by imposition of situation appropriate rules and regulations may also help in the reduction of criminal activities.


  1. Pragati Ghosh, Essay on the Multiple Factor Approach to Crime Causation,
  2. Rohit Bura, Notes on Multiple Factor Approach (Theories of Criminal Behaviour), Preserve Articles,
  3. Diva Rai, 2021, Theories of Causation of Crime, iPleaders,

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