The social control theory is a perspective that tries to explain why people do not commit crimes. This theory suggests that individuals are prevented from committing crimes because of the presence of social bonds, which serve as a form of social control. In this article, we will discuss the perspective of the social control theory in detail.

The Basics of Social Control Theory

According to the social control theory, individuals who have strong social bonds with family, friends, and community are less likely to commit crimes. These bonds create a sense of responsibility and accountability among individuals towards their community, making them think twice before engaging in any criminal activity.

Social Bonds

Social bonds can be defined as the relationships an individual has with others in their society. These relationships can be categorized into four main types:

Social Control Mechanisms

The mechanism that enforces social control can be formal or informal. Formal mechanisms include law enforcement agencies and judicial systems that punish individuals for committing crimes. Informal mechanisms include family members, friends, and other community members who use shaming or ridicule as a means of controlling behavior.

Criticism of Social Control Theory

Although the social control theory has gained widespread acceptance among sociologists and criminologists, it has faced criticism as well. One criticism is that this theory only explains why people do not commit crimes rather than why they commit crimes. Additionally, the social control theory does not take into account the structural inequalities that exist in society, which can lead to criminal behavior.


In conclusion, the social control theory is a perspective that explains how social bonds can serve as a form of social control, preventing individuals from engaging in criminal behavior. It emphasizes the importance of strong relationships with family, friends, and community in deterring crime. While this theory has its limitations, it remains a valuable tool for understanding the complexities of criminal behavior in our society.