The major cause of all crime IS cowardice.
It's easier to steal than produce or it's easier to kill than talk out a problem, and many in poorer situations have the idea stuck in their head they are not strong enough or good enough to do it the right way.
It all stems from those who are not willing to take the extra step to do what is necessary. This is why entitlements do not work, the more people getting free stuff, the more you morally break down those who are good but have to work for it, it becomes easier to just accept free things, everyone eventually becomes lazy or pissed off for taking the majority of the workload, and nothing gets done.
Very few people do actually get a head rush from committing crimes, but that usually stops when they get a bullet through the brain. The fear of being caught is one thing for kids, but the fear of death is entirely another, something we have lost as a nation.
A certain level of fear is desirable, that's why things like the death penalty are required in any civilized society, not because they are necessary for use, but because the fear of it creates a deterrence. Jail is supposed to be a deterrence itself, but that's become a laughing point in many small communities, who have it better in jail than at home.
The idea of a "civilized" people, always destroys the actual concept of being civilized, a civilized people would say "we must take care of those in jail, it would be inhumane to not do so" but by doing so, you remove the purpose of jail in the first place.