rational choice theory (criminology)


  • [12] Rather than simply responding to crime after the fact, recent attention to crime prevention has focused on specific ways in which to modify the physical and social environment.

  • [1] Since rational choice can explain many different components; it is broad enough to be applied not only to crime but everyday life circumstances.

  • Situational crime prevention comprises opportunity-reducing measures that are directed at highly specific forms of crime; involves management, design or manipulation of the
    immediate environment systematically and permanently; makes crime more difficult and risky or less rewarding and excusable as judged by a wide range of offenders.

  • [8] Second is the “sneaky thrill” of minor property crime also might operate more generally such that the anticipated emotional consequences of criminal conduct is one of
    the benefits or utilities (“thrills”) that are weighed in the process of rational decision making.

  • [11] On the other hand, expressive crime includes crimes involving emotion and lack of rational thinking without being concerned of future consequences.

  • [10] According to O’Grady (2011) the three main critiques of rational choice theory include: • Assumes that all individuals have the capacity to make rational decisions •
    The theory does not explain why the burden of responsibility is excused from young offenders as opposed to adult offenders • This theory contradicts the Canadian Criminal Justice System.

  • Elements The theory is related to earlier drift theory (David Matza, Delinquency and Drift, 1964) where people use the techniques of neutralization to drift in and out of
    delinquent behaviour, and systematic crime theory (an aspect of social disorganization theory developed by the Chicago School), where Edwin Sutherland proposed that the failure of families and extended kin groups expands the realm of relationships
    no longer controlled by the community, and undermines governmental controls.

  • The theory is supplemented by the crime triangle or the problem analysis triangle[2] which is used in the analysis both of a crime problem by reference to the three parameters
    of victim, location, and offender, and of an intervention strategy by reference to the parameters of target/victim, location and absence of a capable guardian with the latter helping to think more constructively about responses as well as

  • But several types of crime are very well explained by routine activity theory: • copyright infringement related to peer-to-peer file sharing • employee theft (internal theft)
    • corporate crime Situational crime prevention The main creation of the rational choice theory was to aide and give focus to situational crime prevention.

  • All criminals are rational actors who practice conscious decision making, that simultaneously work towards gaining the maximum benefits of their present situation.

  • Routine activity theory says that crime is normal and depends on the opportunities available.

  • [14] Emotions It is argued that there are three important roles of emotions within a rational choice theory of crime.

  • [7] Sometimes emotional arousal at the moment of a crime can be acute, therefore would be offenders find themselves out of control, and rational considerations are far less

  • [8] Third as a sizable amount of research can attest, the anticipated emotional costs associated with criminal behavior might serve to effectively reduce the likelihood of
    such behavior.

  • Routine activity theory is controversial among sociologists who believe in the social causes of crime.

  • Another aspect of rational choice theory is the fact that many offenders make decisions based on bounded/limited rationality.

  • An example of individuals who lack a rational mind include those who are Not Criminally Responsible on Account Due to Mental Disorder (NCRMD).

  • there must be: • an available and suitable target; • a motivated offender; and • no authority figure to prevent the crime from happening.

  • Negative emotions can hinder rationality thus leading one to use bounded/limited rationality or make an impulsive move towards a criminal action.

  • [citation needed] In a similar vein, Cohen & Felson (1979) developed the routine activity theory which focuses on the characteristics of crime rather than the characteristics
    of the offender.

  • First the people’s state of emotionality is an important context on which rational conduct rests.

  • He depicted the law-abiding culture as dominant and more extensive than alternative criminogenic cultural views and capable of overcoming systematic crime if organized for
    that purpose.

  • [8] Crime therefore can be influenced by opportunity.


Works Cited

[‘1. Clarke 1997, p. 10.
2. ^ “Step 8: Use the problem analysis triangle”. Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. Arizona State University. 27 September 2016. Retrieved 2019-11-21.
3. ^ Clarke 1997, p. 11.
4. ^ O’Grady 2011, pp. 127–130.
5. ^
Clarke 1997, p. 12.
6. ^ Elster 1986, p. 148.
7. ^ Kaufman 1998, p. 139.
8. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Simpson 2000, p. 162.
9. ^ O’Grady 2011, p. 127.
10. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f O’Grady 2011, p. 129.
11. ^ Jump up to:a b O’Grady 2011,
p. 128.
12. ^ Clarke 1997, p. 4.
13. ^ Jump up to:a b c Homel 1996, p. 106.
14. ^ Homel 1996, p. 107.
15. ^ Kaufman 1998, p. 136.
16. ^ Kaufman 1998, pp. 136–137.
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4. Chainey, Spencer; Ratcliffe, Jerry (2005). GIS
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crime prevention”. In Tonry, Michael; Farrington, David (eds.). Building a Safer Society: Strategic Approaches to Crime Prevention. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-80824-6.
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(ed.). Opportunity Makes the Thief (PDF). Police Research Series. Vol. 98. London: Home Office Policing and Reducing Crime Unit. ISBN 1-84082-159-0. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-02-18.
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bounded rationality”. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (38): 135–144.
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Mills: Oxford University Press. pp. 127–130. ISBN 978-0-19-543378-4.
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