The criminal behavior can have multiple causes but the dispute concerning the origin of crime and criminal behavior persists. In this regard, the main issue is the debate of nature vs. nurture which implies the explanation of the criminal behavior by inherited, natural factors and individual traits of character vs. the social and environmental explanation of the criminal behavior, as the result of the impact of the social environment of an individual. Today, there is no definite answer whether nature or nurture theory of the criminal behavior is right but the impact of environment and socialization is definitely more significant in the contemporary society, at least, because crimes are often committed by individuals on the ground of socioeconomic reason and under the impact of the social environment of an individual.
The criminal behavior is naturally inseparable from the personality of offenders because it is the offenders, who take the decision to commit a crime or not. This aspect of the criminal behavior probably gave rise to the belief that the product of latent traits of character of offenders. According to this standpoint, the criminal behavior is the result of individual inclinations (Siegel, 2003). Therefore, any individual may become an offender because of his/her personal latent traits that virtually push him/her to commit crimes. At first glance, such a view on the criminal behavior is reasonable as long as the individual commits crimes consciously making individual choices. However, such a view on crimes and criminal behavior is apparently superficial because latent traits as the cause of crime are inconsistent because such explanation deals rather with the essence of crime and criminal behavior than with actual causes of crimes and criminal behavior. Latent traits of character of an offender cannot fully explain causes that provoke criminal behavior in the offender. The belief that latent traits of character are primary causes of crime implies that offenders are evil by their nature, while other people are good and right. Obviously, such argument is inconsistent because this argument lacks evidence (Siegel, 2003). Personal problems or latent traits of character are not actually innate but they are shaped in the course of socialization and personal development of an offender. Therefore, latent traits may be just a part of the cause of criminal behavior, while socialization and environment are apparently key factors that affect the behavior of individuals and their criminal inclinations.
In fact, any individual undergoes the process of socialization. The process of socialization has a deep impact on any individual because the impact of the community and social environment is always significant as people cannot live in isolation from the society. Therefore, individuals need to interact with each other. However, such interaction leads to changes in personal views and beliefs of individuals because they need to adapt to the social life to make the interaction with other people more effective (Hayward, 2004). Often, the inability of individuals to adapt to the social life provokes their criminal behavior because, being unable to lead the socially acceptable life, they commit crimes and acts that contradict to existing social norms and rules (Hayward, 2004). Therefore, individuals, who drop out of the community life, tend to become offenders that means that the criminal behavior deals with socialization of individuals.