There are many theories about why people commit crimes. Issues such as poverty, drug abuse and mental illness often play a role in driving an individual to commit a crime, yet these factors do not offer a complete explanation of the phenomenon. The reasons that people commit crimes are as unique and varied as the individuals who commit them.
Criminologists have developed many theories as to why people commit crimes. The History Learning Site lists one prominent theory that explains how people are influenced by the environment around them, especially the environment they grew up in. Conversely, others believe that one's biology and genetics determine an individual's potential to become a criminal.
Other theories suggest that humans are innately self-interested and will commit crimes if they perceive the benefits of the crime to be greater than the risks to themselves, also explained by The History Learning Site. Another theory maintains that people commit crimes based on their social environment and the people they associate with.
Still others believe that individuals commit crimes because they are unable to achieve success in life through legal means. Ultimately, the reason that people commit crimes is likely a combination of many different theories and is highly dependent on the individual situation and characteristics of a particular criminal.