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  • Writer's pictureSam Wilks

The Influence of Culture on Criminal Behaviour an Australian perspective

In contemporary society, the intersection of culture, criminal behaviour, and public policy presents a complex and contentious landscape. The Australian context provides a vivid illustration of this interplay, especially in light of discriminatory policies aimed at addressing historical and systemic inequalities. While well-intentioned, these'special measure policies,' cultural privilege programs, and racially divisive acts and regulations have had unintended consequences, including increased incarceration rates, welfare dependency, and the proliferation of victimhood ideologies.

The relationship between culture and criminal behaviour is complex. Cultural norms, values, and expectations significantly influence individual behaviour and societal responses to crime. In some communities, cultural dispositions towards authority, the law, and communal responsibility significantly impact the prevalence and types of criminal activities. For instance, in certain Australian Indigenous communities, there is a discernible tension between traditional cultural practices and the statutes of Australian law, often leading to a higher incidence of encounters with the criminal justice system. There is not one Aboriginal culture; the nation of Australia was once made up of over 900 nations, tribal groups, clans, and differing lores.

Special measure policies, designed to provide advantages to historically disadvantaged groups, often stem from a noble intent. However, these policies inadvertently lead to a dependency syndrome, where individuals rely more on state/government support than on self-agency and community resilience. In Australia, this is evident in the welfare dependency observed in many Indigenous communities. Prolonged reliance on government support has eroded traditional social structures and work ethics, leading to a cycle of poverty and increased interaction with the criminal justice system.

Concurrent with these policies is the emergence of victimhood ideologies, which frame individuals and groups primarily in terms of their historical and systemic oppression. While acknowledging past injustices is crucial, an overemphasis on victimhood impedes the development of personal and communal agency. In Australia, this has manifested in a narrative that reduces Indigenous identity to one of victimhood, overlooking the diversity, resilience, and agency within these communities. Worse, it depicts contemporary Australians, many of whom are first- and second-generation Australians, who have never taken part in any of the historical atrocities against Indigenous people as oppressors, which is blatantly false and objectively evil.

Cultural privilege programs, intended to rectify past injustices through affirmative action, often create new forms of division and inequality. In Australia, such programs have led to reverse discrimination, where individuals are advantaged or disadvantaged based solely on their racial or cultural background rather than their needs or merits. This approach fosters resentment and division, undermining the social cohesion necessary for a harmonious society.

The over-representation of Aboriginal Australians in crime statistics is a multifaceted issue that requires consideration of historical, socio-economic, and cultural factors. As of 2021-2022, Aboriginal Australians, who constitute approximately 2.8% of the national population, were reportedly responsible for over 18% (ABS) of the crimes in the country.

This disproportionality in crime rates, despite having access to greater judicial representation and funding, can be attributed to a complex interplay of factors, the most easily identifiable being culture.

In Australia, the overrepresentation of Indigenous Australians in the criminal justice system is a stark example of these dynamics at play. Indigenous Australians constitute a disproportionate percentage of the prison population, a fact often attributed to systemic issues and historical injustices. However, policies focused solely on these aspects without addressing underlying cultural and community dynamics have not reduced this overrepresentation. The evidence suggests that they have increased criminal behaviour. By rewarding unacceptable and criminal behaviour, the policies have only led to more.

Similarly, the Northern Territory Intervention, a government initiative aimed at addressing child abuse and neglect in Indigenous communities, faced criticism for its top-down approach and alleged racial discrimination. Although intended to protect vulnerable children, many people perceived the intervention as an infringement on Indigenous rights and autonomy, demonstrating the difficulties in implementing culturally sensitive policies in diverse communities. Methods used to address the issues have included a holistic approach, including addressing socio-economic disparities through education, employment opportunities, and improved living conditions. The implementation of culturally sensitive and informed policing and judicial practices. The provision of community-based interventions to strengthen cultural connections and provide support for issues like substance abuse and domestic violence. More over the appointment of several activist judges and magistrates whose use of bail laws and monitoring programs (ankle bracelets, etc.) is part of an ongoing effort to address perceived systemic biases within the criminal justice system.

The academic promotion of crime disparities is due to their consensus of opinions, a result of a combination of historical, socio-economic, systemic, and cultural factors. Effective solutions require a multifaceted approach that goes beyond legal representation and addresses the root causes of the disparity. However, after 60 years of evidence gathering and social programs designed by academics, policymakers, and profiteers, the incarceration rate continues to rise, the domestic violence and abuse rates increase, and the only increase in lifespan is in those identified aborigines that live in urban centers and close to amenities, i.e. geographically affected.

The Australian experience illustrates the nuanced and often paradoxical outcomes of policies designed to address historical inequalities. While the intent behind'special measure policies' and cultural privilege programs is often commendable and highly promoted by the elites and academics from the East Coast of Australia, their implementation leads to increased welfare dependency, entrenchment of victimhood ideologies, and unintended societal divisions.

Moving forward, it is essential to strike a balance through trade-offs that recognise the importance of cultural sensitivities and historical contexts while also promoting individual agency, community resilience, and social cohesion. Policies should be evaluated not just by their intentions but also by their outcomes, ensuring that they contribute to the empowerment and betterment of all individuals in society, irrespective of their cultural or racial background. The very obvious problem in Australia is that social discourse with indigenous people is aimed at elders, elites, academics, NGOs and many industries that rely on the pain and suffering of others. The two well-known factors that increase life span and reduce crime are promoting family cohesion and education. The number of indiginous children that grow up in single-parent households correlates with well-known data on criminal behavior. The promotion of racial division in the education system is an example of systemic racism by bureaucrats and the government, not the Australian community. If we can gain the political will to reform the education system and remove the incentives for separating families, we can tackle the first steps to closing the gap between indigenous Australians, criminal behaviour, and the rest of the country. A smarter man than I once wrote, behind every atrocity in the last 300 years there has been an academic telling the offenders they are doing it for the right reasons. This is a clear reason why we must never get qualifications confused with competence. 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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