“Crime is an illegal and unlawful act, whereas “criminality” means a mental state or an intention of engaging in unlawful behaviour. In order to reduce crime, criminal psychology offers solutions for criminality. It’s very difficult and challenging to define crime, as it is situation-based and contextual in nature. It is essential to consider whether the crime is done in self-defence, under pressure, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Therefore, legally, a crime can be defined as an act that violates the law or moral standards. Criminal psychology is the examination or analysis of the behaviour of criminals. Criminal behaviour refers to the criminal’s attitude, personality, thinking, physiology, motivation, learning, and many other factors that provoke them to commit the offence. It is essential to comprehend criminal psychology because it enables us to define, justify, predict, and manage such behaviour.
WHAT IS CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGY?
Psychology has undergone substantial change and diversification since it is intended to systematically research behaviour. The two main subfields of psychology, clinical psychology, and social psychology, have given rise to criminal psychology. Social psychology helps us understand the behaviour of people, including how they react to other people’s opinions, what they think about others, and how they perceive someone’s advice. In order to diagnose and treat mental health issues, clinical psychology focuses on applying research methods and findings in practical contexts. Criminal anthropology and criminal psychology are linked disciplines. The study delves into the motivations behind criminal behaviour. For improving social conditions, it is also essential to identify the causes of crime, comprehend criminal psychology, and be able to create therapies at the individual and social levels. The crime rate in India is increasing day by day and becoming more brutal, which raises the question of how a regular person who passes by our side in the market, our neighbour, our friends, or family members can go to such lengths of crime without fear or without even thinking of others. There are numerous cases in the history of crime that have remained unsolved, and these cases can only be understood by understanding human behaviour.
CRIME AND PSYCHOLOGY: INTER-LINKED
The mental constitution of a person has a significant impact on the kind of person they become. Psychology and crime are closely related. Following are some traits that can help in comprehending how psychology and crime interact:
- Youth who are getting bullied and some young boys and girls who are unable to match the expectations of society are ending up taking drugs, which is illegal, and this gives rise to their confidence and courage to do illegal, offensive, and serious crimes.
- There are many people who endured mental or physical abuse in their childhood or in their antisocial behaviour as adults who are likely to indulge in this type of illegal act. Children who experience abuse or neglect have a unique view of the world and are more likely to become criminals in their adulthood.
- Sometimes there is peer pressure on a person to take the decision to commit a crime. There are many people who get influenced by another person to do an offensive act.
- Sometimes people commit serious crimes in anger. There are many people who commit crimes because of a lack of education about what is right and wrong. These types of people are unaware that what type of consequences they will face after committing a crime.
CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGY AND SERIAL KILLINGS
Extreme antisocial behaviour, including a lack of empathy, an apparent inability to feel regret, little regard for the law or social mores, and a strong desire to exact revenge on specific people or society at large through violent acts, appears to be the most prevalent psychological trait among serial killers. The trio links bedwetting over a certain age, a desire to cause fires, and cruelty to animals to violent behaviour, especially murderous and sexually predatory behaviour. The following lists some of the more shocking murders that are still noteworthy:
- Ted Bundy (1946–1989): Bundy was a killer, rapist, kidnapper, burglar, and necrophiliac. Bundy’s modus operandi was to kidnap females, rape them, and then dismember them. He used to keep their heads.
- Andrei Chikatilo: Andrei has committed 56 brutal murders. He used to stab and slash his victims with knives and sexually assault them.
- Jeffrey Dahmer: Jeffrey was convicted of murdering 17 young men in 14 years of period time. He raped them and sometimes ate them too.
CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGY IN THE LEGAL FIELD
Criminal psychology plays a very crucial role in the field of law as it gives insight into criminals’ minds. Attorneys must comprehend the motivations underlying the defendants’ behaviour in order to render an unbiased decision in court. Criminal profilers—often criminal anthropologists or forensic psychologists—use a combination of crime-scene examination, investigative psychology, and other behavioural disciplines to pinpoint prospective offenders. Studies in criminal psychology may help identify suspects, maybe allowing law enforcement to prevent other crimes or capture a serial offender. Understanding the behaviour of criminals, whether due to a personality trait, deprivation, or any other factor creating social circumstances that might encourage people to quit, is required.
Understanding and determining the causes of some of a person’s behaviours is the goal of psychology, which is the study of the brain and its nerve connections. By analysing the psychology of criminals, criminal psychologists play a very important role in the investigation and court proceedings, and this also helps the legislatures make laws to instill fear in their minds. No legislation can prevent a mentally ill person from committing an offensive crime, but a psychologist can predict whether the person will continue these habits in the future. Therefore, a better future for society is held by the expanding realm of science.
Author’s Name: Riya Singh (Army Law College, Pune)