Criminology Chapter 4
Criminology Chapter 4 3600
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kathryn Hardison on Tuesday February 9, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 3600 at University of Missouri - Columbia taught by Andrew Fisher in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see Criminology in Sociology at University of Missouri - Columbia.
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Date Created: 02/09/16
Criminology Chapter 4: Choice Theory Rational Choice Theory o Explanation Crime is a function of a decisionmaking process in which the potential offender weighs the potential costs and benefits of an illegal act They choose whether to commit the crime or not o Evaluating Risks How great are the rewards? What’s the risk? What’s the level of excitement? o OffenseSpecific Crime A crime in which the offender reacts selectively to the characteristics of a particular crime How do they need to act in order to fit the crime? Structuring criminality Economic need/opportunity Evaluate personal traits and experience o They know when to take a chance or be cautious Criminal expertise o Learning techniques o Criminal activity is a business o OffenderSpecific Crime A crime in which offenders evaluate their skills, motives, needs, and fears before committing a crime Whatever crime fits as a job If you commit a crime, have the skills to do so Structuring crime Choosing place of crime Choosing targets o Scoping out homes Creating scripts o Usually the same for all victims o Is Crime Rational? Theft You choose to steal Drug use/sales Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Violence You plan who you follow and kill… serial killers don’t just kill the first ten people they see o Committing Crime Why do people do it? Edgework o The excitement/exhilaration of successfully illegal activities in dangerous situations o Once you get a taste there’s no going back… Seductions of crime o The situational inducements or immediate benefits that draw offenders to crime o An emotional pay off o “adrenaline rush” Controlling crime o RCT criminals plan their crimes WELL o Situational Crime Prevention Can be avoided if Potential targets are carefully guarded Means to commit crime are controlled Offenders are monitored o Crime Prevention Strategies Increase effort needed from criminal Increase the risk of committing a crime Lower the rewards of crime Increase the shame and guilt Lower provocation Rid of excuses Ex: Speed limit road signs that monitor your speed, gates, locks, paying first for gas Basically make it really hard to commit a crime… o Evaluating Situational Crime Prevention Hidden Benefits Diffusion o Preventing one crime can kill two birds with one stone o Ex: Putting up cameras can stop theft AND vandalizing Discouragement o Ex: Reducing criminal activity in one city may lower the activity in another because the criminals are “discouraged” and will “law low” Hidden Costs Displacement o Redirects offenders o Ex: Criminals more to another part of town Extinction o Things become outdated o The criminals become smarter and move on Replacement o They try new crimes because their old way doesn’t work anymore o Ex: The criminal may hack smartphones, but smartphones are being tracked, so they may hack tablets instead Deterrence Theories o General Deterrence Theory A way to think about preventing crime Crime does not equal benefits Perception and deterrence o Ex: “police” on side of car can scare criminals Certainty of punishment o When criminals are rational, if the certainty of punishment increases, they’ll realize that the crime isn’t as great as the benefits o Only the irrational person will commit crime o Ex: increase in police presence Severity of punishment o Stealing = body part chopped off ? does that decrease crime rates? o The death penalty may or may not decrease criminal activity Swiftness of punishment o The more rapid the punishment, the more closely it’s linked to the crime, and the more likely it serves as a deterrent o Ex: inmates on death row serve average of 10 years and has a disconnect to crime and punishment Critique of “General Deterrence Theory” Rationality o Some may not fear punishment System effectiveness o A lot of crime is unreported/unsolved Crime specific deterrence o A criminal may commit a certain crime because they know the punishment is small or there is little deterrence for the crime o They don’t care if they get caught and they have little to lose o Specific Deterrence The view that criminal sanctions should be so powerful that offenders will never repeat their criminal acts Call and response relationship with crime and punishment Arrests in punishments have little effect on criminals 2/3 of criminals are rearrested after 3 years of being released Harsh prison time increases criminal behavior o Incapacitation The view that placing offenders behind bars during their crime crime years reduces their opportunity to commit crime and lowers the crime rate Criminals can’t commit crimes when they’re in prison As crime decreases, the prison population increases o Policy Implications of Choice Theory Effects of arrest quickly decay and may actually escalate the frequency of repeat domestic violence Initial fear of arrest did not result in severe punishment o Without severe punishment, criminal could be angry and will commit crime again Dear may be replaced with anger and violent intent toward victims “Threestrikes” law 3 felonies = lifelong sentencing Appeals to pubic sentiments but may be a premature method
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