Generally speaking, children learn social norms from their families. They learn what is appropriate, what is inappropriate, and they learn what kind of behavior is acceptable and what kind of behavior is unacceptable. Family plays a very important role in crime because families are raising children that are going to become members of society. Family help to shape whether individuals (children) in the family are going to be productive or not. Many families are dysfunctional in some small way but when a child is raised in a very dysfunctional environment, they will not know right from wrong and they will be more likely to participate in criminal activities. When a child is raised in a positive and nurturing environment, they will have a better grasp on what is right and what is wrong.
The previous posts were accurate. The problem of crime is a complex one and cannot be reduced to one particular element. Many different factors impact it and to identify one as the sole determinant might not be intellectually sound. I think that the family, though, is one of the first areas where messages about what is acceptable in the social order and what is deemed as unacceptable can be heard. Children receive their first impressions of how to treat people and how violence should be perceived and understood through the family. It is a domain where one can teach to treat people as ends in their own rights, as opposed to means to ends. When we examine criminal behavior, we see that criminals have come from so- called "good" homes and not so good ones. Yet, the role of the family in helping to determine and form what constitutes as behavior that substantiates society and behavior that is criminal and takes away from it is something that is always assessed in the issue of crime and society.
You can argue that families both contribute to and alleviate the problem of crime (probably not usually in the same family).
On the one hand, a dysfunctional family can help contribute to the problem of crime. If a child lacks supervision or, worse, if the child sees family members committing crimes, he or she is much more likely to commit crimes.
On the other hand, families can reduce crime. "Strong" families are more likely to inculcate good values in their children. This, along with the support they give their kids, will help prevent their kids from becoming criminals.
The family plays an essential role in either contributing to or alleviating the problem of crime. It is here, during one's formative years, that either positive or negative values will be learned.
Children, who are raised, in a loving and caring environment and are subject to observing positive role models on a daily basis, will, most likely, become honest citizens. A life of crime is not an option for them. Instead, like their mentors, they will choose to do the right thing.
A family is society at a micro level. A family is a miniature society in itself. The mental and emotional health of the family impacts society both positively and negatively. A family built on strong and positive values like honesty, hard work and thrift will contribute to the overall health and vitality of a society by emphasizing contentment with whatever it has. This will contribute to lower crime rates.
Similarly, a family which is not supportive of sound values like honesty, hard work and thrift will result in its members being discontented and eager for an opportunity to commit felony. Needless to say, it is these sort of families which are the cradles of all criminal activities in a society.