Public opinion on crime causation: An exploratory study of Philadelphia area residents

Shaun L. Gabbidon, Danielle Boisvert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study examined the views on crime causation from a sample of randomly selected Philadelphia area residents. Methods: Through the use of a phone survey, residents (N = 359) were asked thirty seven questions related to their level of support for several criminological theories, including classical theory, biological theory, psychological theory, social disorganization theory, strain/general strain theory, subcultural theory, social learning theory, social control/general theory, labeling theory, critical theory, and environmental criminology theory. The analyses assessed whether the views of respondents differed by race, gender, and political ideology. Both across-race and within-race analyses were also conducted to determine the nuances of the support for specific criminological perspectives. Results: The results pointed to numerous significant gender differences and across-race differences in public opinion on crime causation but few within-race differences. The results also confirmed previous research that supported the notion that one's political ideology is tied to the level of support for certain criminological theories. Conclusion: Overall, the results point to the merits of including the views of lay persons when there are discussions pertaining to crime causation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-59
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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