Anthony Walsh and Cody Jorgensen
Evolutionary criminology is part of a broader biosocial approach to criminology. The evolutionary perspective can help organize the hodgepodge of extant, and often contradictory, criminological theories in a coherent way, thus providing a more robust explanation of criminality. This chapter demonstrates the relevance of evolutionary theory to criminology, discusses the evolutionary origins of both prosocial and antisocial traits, and shows that evolutionary theory is invaluable to understanding two key issues that have been impervious to solution using the standard social science model—the sex ratio in criminal offending and the age–crime curve. The chapter also provides a discussion on the distal causes of traits conducive to criminal behavior as well as a Darwinian explanation of why humans can be altruistic toward some humans yet victimize others.
Patrick Sharkey, Max Besbris, and Michael Friedson
This article examines theory and evidence on the association between poverty and crime at both the individual and community levels. It begins with a review of the literature on individual- or family-level poverty and crime, followed by a discussion at the level of the neighborhood or community. The research under consideration focuses on criminal activity and violent behavior, using self-reports or official records of violent offenses (homicide, assault, rape), property crime (burglary, theft, vandalism), and in some cases delinquency or victimization. The article concludes by highlighting three shifts of thinking about the relationship between poverty and crime, including a shift away from a focus on individual motivations and toward a focus on situations that make crime more or less likely.