In reviewing Glenn Walter's theory of the criminal lifestyle, there are a number of key ideas and definitions he uses to flesh out his concepts. In all, Walters has developed ten postulates that he uses to crystalize his thinking regarding the lifestyle criminal. All will be reviewed, the first in this post.
Postulate #1 - Crime can be understood as a lifestyle characterized by a global sense of irresponsibility, self-indulgent interests, an intrusive approach to interpersonal relationships, and chronic violation of societal rules, laws, and mores.
The most important point to be made about postulate #1 is that it is defined in lifestyle terms. This postulate (and theory) does not encompass all types of criminal activity (though again, it is useful to consider these issues on a continuum), but rather is directed towards those individuals for whom the above characteristics reflect their general life pattern. It is these individuals, small as their overall numbers may be, that are responsible for much of the crime worldwide. Their criminal behavior is not the result of momentary lapses in judgement, or situational stress, but rather a general pattern of living that is characterized by irresponsible, self-indulgent, intrusive, social rule-breaking behavior.
In fact, it is these four areas (irresponsibility, self-indulgence, interpersonal intrusiveness, and social rule-breaking) that are primary in terms of classifying an individual as a lifestyle criminal. Absent one or more of these areas, they do not fall completely within the definition of a lifestyle criminal. Again, simply because an individual does not meet the full criteria for what is called a lifestyle criminal does not mean they cannot be aided by efforts used to habilitate a lifestyle criminal (which will be the focus of later posts). However, the focus of this series will remain on individuals who meet the full criteria.
The next four posts will examine these four areas that define postulate number one. Next up: Irresponsibility.