What causes an individual to commit a crime? Is it something within that person or is it because of their surroundings? Does society play a part in the reasons why crime happens? Does crime happen because the law says a certain behavior is criminal? For over 100 years criminologists have been trying to find out these answers and still crime happens.
Can we concede that crime happens for these reasons and more? The individual has responsibility when a crime is committed and there is also a responsibility shared by society when someone commits a crime. Society, first of all has to say a certain behavior is against the law thus making that behavior a crime. The individual, for whatever reasons, has to violate that law to commit the crime thus taking individual responsibility for that crime.
Theories of crime have always come after the fact and by the time a theory reaches maturation it may already be outdated. That theory may still have viable answers as to the overall picture rather than an end all cure all for crime. All criminology theories should be looked at as a whole rather than parts that are exclusively the answer. The problem comes when attempting to validate research methods to show whether the theory is correct or not.
Is it possible that there are different stages of responsibility? Responsibility for crime starts when a certain behavior is classified as a crime so that becomes a shared responsibility. When the crime happens the individual becomes responsible because it was within their power to make a choice. What happened prior to that choice can be either individual responsibility such as a biological or psychological predisposition or it can be a shared responsibility due to a number of external factors. Some may even argue whether or not a biological reason places the responsibility on the individual or on society.
In our legalistic society we have grown to place responsibility every where except upon ourselves, but maybe it is time we all accepted responsibility for crime. Is the person who leaves their vehicle unlocked with their wallet in the car at all responsible for the crime happening when their wallet is stolen out of the car? How about the person who leaves the keys in their car and then wonders why the car is stolen? What combined actions led up to the crime happening?
We are all responsible for crime, before it happens, when it is happening and after it happens. It should not be a them v. us mentality.