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Are People Born Criminals?

Nature versus nurture? That's the question pondered by psychoanalysis and researchers for decades. Bigots have tried to link theories about a genetic predisposition to crime as a means of oppressing some ethnic groups and advance their agenda for years. While it's true that no one is born a criminal, and there is absolutely no evidence that any ethnic group is inherently more criminal than others, newer research and generational felony statistics suggest that criminality can be a genetic characteristic.

What the Research Says?

The environment one grows up in does have a big impact on moral ambiguity and attitudes toward criminal activity. If you grow up seeing criminal activity as a normal, everyday event, you're less likely to see it as something bad. However, new research shows that genetics can also have an impact on violent crime. A 2014 study conducted in Finland and published in "Molecular Psychiatry" looked at 900 violent offenders in Finland. They were able to identify two genes that are associated with violent behavior. Subjects who had those genes were 13 times more likely to engage in repeated violent criminal activities.

The authors of the study did not suggest that those who have this gene are destined to a life of crime. Environment also plays a role. They did state their opinion that these findings could be used for screening and intervention to keep people with a genetic predisposition for crime from succumbing to fate.

The Most Criminal Generation? The Answer Might Surprise You

If you went by reporting on the evening news, you'd think the youth of today are running amok. However, recent crime statistics show that criminal activity among 18 – 25 year olds is 23 percent lower than that of previous generations at the same age. Not only that, older persons today commit crimes at a much higher rate than millennials and teens.

What's Change Over the Generations?

Crimes like robbery and rape have increased slightly, but criminologists attribute that, in part, to higher rates of reporting. However, crimes like drug possession have actually gone down. That's partly due to decriminalization of recreational marijuana and a change in the view of drug addiction as a health issue rather than a crime problem. Although poverty is still a big issue in large pockets of the country, overall wealth and stability are up, leading to more security. Poverty and crimes of opportunity like petty theft often go hand-in-hand

If you want to learn more about statistics regarding crime or search a database of individual criminal history for background or research purposes, companies like Intelius and other companies have built searchable databases containing a range of information that are accessible to law professionals, investigators and academics.