Everyone wants to avoid turning into a criminal. But time and again, normal, ordinary people turn to crime. What are the causes/reasons why people become criminals? Do they really think they can be successful criminals? Do they think that they can make crime their way of life, earn pots of money and never be caught? Is that why they do it?
They may not adrenaline junkies, nor drug addicts or mentally ill, and nor are they in dire straits financially. They are normal people like you and me who are tempted, do the wrong thing and land up in jail. You may not be one of them, or maybe you stopped yourself in time, and never crossed that red line.
In case you are still considering it, here are some tips to stop yourself from stepping over that barbed wire:
- Don’t hang out with people who are always planning on how to make a fast buck. They may not be hardened criminals, but they can get you in trouble one day. Their basic driving force is Greed. They want more than they deserve.
- Ensure that you complete your education and train for a market-oriented skill so you have the ability to earn.
- If you have anger issues (which can lead to spur of the moment crimes like road rage) get counselling, if not by a professional, then by mentors who are respected in society or a law-abiding elder in the family. They will help you realise the consequences of any impulsive action on your part.
- Don’t think that you won’t ever be caught. Maybe you think you are really “smart” and can evade the law. The smartest criminals have been caught. You aren’t better than them.
- Small crimes lead to bigger ones. For example, you may justify breaking a red light because of the frustration you experience on the roads every day, but remember it becomes a habit. One day, you could go a step further, and it can lead to an accident, or you could be caught by the police. And at the workplace, there are always temptations to steal small items like stationary or over-claiming expenses. This just dulls your conscience, and can lead you to take a bigger step towards crime over time.
- If your mentor/parent or authority figure is pressurising you to commit a crime, take a step back from that person. Stand down. Resist. When you do something because you are ordered to, it may feel that you are not really responsible. But you are. The law does not distinguish whether you did it on your own steam or whether you just followed orders.
- If you have issues with depression or self-esteem counselling is the way to go. You may not have any mental health issues, but circumstances have put you in a rut, and you feel depressed. This can tempt you to commit a crime. Perhaps out of desperation. Or feelings of jealousy towards a colleague or neighbour whom you see as undeserving.
- Don’t believe in destiny and fate. It might tempt you to take the wrong path, because people who believe in fate often feel less responsible for their actions. But if you have a strong sense of who you are, and believe you have control over your life, there is less likelihood of doing the wrong thing. Fate doesn’t dictate your life. You do.
- Distinguish moral and ethical behaviour from punishment. If you are avoiding doing something because of fear of punishment, it’s time to do a re-evaluation of your values. Do you have a set of moral values you like to live by?
- Don’t let the feeling of injustice control you. You may feel your organisation is mistreating you and justify a theft, or you might justify a violent action because you feel hurt. Just because you feel you deserve something better does not justify an unethical action. If you don’t agree, then at least think of the consequences.