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  • Writer's pictureSam Wilks

The Influence of Culture on Criminal Behaviour


In examining the complexities of criminal behaviour, one must consider the interplay between cultural influences and individual actions. It's essential to delve into the underlying factors that shape these behaviours, drawing on insights from a diverse range of disciplines.

At the heart of understanding criminal behaviour lies the fundamental principle that actions are often a response to the incentives and disincentives presented by society. This principle, deeply rooted in economic thought, suggests that individuals weigh the potential benefits against the risks and costs when deciding whether to engage in criminal activities. The psychological framework that people operate within has an impact on this decision-making process in addition to a simple calculation of risks and rewards. The impact of cultural norms and values, the role of authority and hierarchy, and the individual's quest for meaning and identity play pivotal roles in shaping their choices.

In the context of the Northern Territories community, these interactions become particularly salient. The NT's unique cultural landscape, characterised by its diverse population, historical influences, and evolving social norms, provides a rich backdrop for analyzing criminal behaviour. One striking example is the issue of youth gangs in suburban areas. These groups often form in response to a perceived lack of opportunities and a search for identity and belonging, elements deeply rooted in the cultural and socioeconomic environment of these youths.

A culture that values financial success and status is another notable example of what drives white-collar crime. In these cases, the pursuit of wealth and recognition overshadow ethical considerations, leading individuals to engage in fraudulent activities.

The way individuals perceive their environment and their place within it also significantly influences their behaviour. The concept of 'learned helplessness', where individuals feel powerless to change their circumstances, can lead to a sense of resignation and, in many cases, criminal behaviour as a means of exerting control or escaping from their situation. Conversely, environments that foster a sense of empowerment and provide legitimate avenues for success deter criminal behaviour.

In addressing criminal behaviour, the focus often shifts to preventive measures. Here, the experience of security professionals comes into play. The design of secure environments, whether physical or digital, is crucial to deterring criminal activities. This involves not only technological solutions but also an understanding of human behaviour and motivations. Security measures that are overly oppressive can, paradoxically, incite rebellion and criminal behaviour, while those that are too lax fail to deter it effectively.

The interplay of cultural factors and individual decision-making processes is central to understanding criminal behaviour. By drawing on insights from economics, psychology, and security experience, one can gain a more nuanced understanding of why individuals engage in criminal activities and how society can effectively address these issues. This approach emphasises the need for comprehensive strategies that consider the cultural, economic, and psychological dimensions of crime, particularly in the unique context of Australian society. By doing so, it's possible to develop more effective interventions that address the root causes of criminal behaviour, rather than merely treating its symptoms.

From the author.


The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.

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