03 crime as choice


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03 crime as choice

  1. 1. Crime as Choice<br />CJS 380 Crime Science:Principles, Strategies and Practice of<br />Crime Prevention and Reduction©<br />J.A. Gilmer<br />
  2. 2. Classical and Neoclassical Traditions<br />Reaction to punishment of crime based the ‘divine authority’ assumed by the state<br />2<br />
  3. 3. CesareBeccaria<br />On Crimes and Punishments (1764)<br />Thesis of reform based on rational criminal justice & punishment<br />Human nature is ‘hedonistic’; <br />so no need to ‘explain crime’<br />Society based on social contract<br />Rational choice <br />Individual accountable for own action<br />Punishment should ‘fit the crime’<br />Certain, swift, proportionate<br />1738-1794<br />3<br />
  4. 4. Principles of Classical Deterrence<br />Certainty – punishment willbeadministered <br />Swiftness –in temporal proximity to crime<br />Severity –in sufficient measure to prevent recurrence<br />Critique<br />Equal imposition of punishments not practical<br />Mitigating circumstances cannot be considered<br />All equal in terms of moral responsibility<br />4<br />
  5. 5. Neoclassical Adaptations<br />Recognized certain conditions as more amenable to ‘free choice’<br />Some rational choice constrained by factors beyond control of individual<br />Pre-existing conditions<br />Variation in opportunity structure<br />Choosing to commit crime still valid but limitations are recognized<br />5<br />
  6. 6. Rational choice perspective<br />NEOCLASSICAL CRIMINOLOGY<br />6<br />
  7. 7. The Rational Choice Theory<br />Cornish, D and R. Clarke (1986) “Introduction.” The Reasoning Criminal<br /><ul><li>Offenders seek to benefit themselves by criminal behavior
  8. 8. Even impulsive or pathologically motivated offenders
  9. 9. Crime-specific focus
  10. 10. Situational context of decision making and information processed varies greatly
  11. 11. Distinguishes between criminal involvement and the criminal event</li></ul>7<br />
  12. 12. Criminal Involvement Process<br />Model of Criminal Involvement<br />Background factors<br />Past Learning/Experience<br />Generalized Need<br />Solutions Evaluated<br />Perceived Solution<br />Reaction to Chance Event<br />Readiness (decision pt.)<br />Decision<br />8<br />Source: Cornish and Clarke (1986)<br />
  13. 13. Crime Event Model<br />9<br />Source: Cornish and Clarke (1986)<br />
  14. 14. Modeling Persistence<br />10<br />Source: Cornish and Clarke (1986)<br />
  15. 15. Modeling Desistence<br />11<br />Source: Cornish and Clarke (1986)<br />
  16. 16. Summary of Rational Choice Theory<br />Assumes that criminals are “rational actors”<br />Assess risks – perceived gains against perceived likelihood getting caught and punished<br />Distinguish decision of criminal involvement from decision to commit crime<br />Individual differences between criminals and non-criminals are irrelevant (not positivist)<br />Need to examine particular crimes and criminal methods more closely<br />Reduce crime by focusing on criminal event and situational factors contributing to it<br />12<br />
  18. 18. Routine Activities Theory<br />Macro-level theory to Rational Choice’s micro<br />Sought to explain increase in crime during period of relative affluence<br />Focused on crime relative to structural change in lifestyles <br />Less time at home with family<br />More time with non-family<br />Direct contact predatory violations<br />14<br />Marcus Felson<br />Cohen, Lawrence E. and Marcus Felson (1979). “Social Change and Crime Rate Trends: A Routine Activity Approach.” American Sociological Review. 44:588-605.<br />
  19. 19. The Crime Triangle<br />Motivated Offenders<br />Not problematic for theory<br />Suitable Targets<br />Huge increases in consumer spending and availability of “portable” goods since WWII<br />Absence of Capable Guardians<br />More people in workforce<br />Anonymity of modern life<br />Police not the problem<br />15<br />CRIME<br />
  20. 20. The Crime Triangle (with Controllers)<br />Controller – formal or informal responsibility to monitor<br />Handler<br />Close enough to exercise control over offender<br />Manager<br />Controller for specific location<br />Guardian<br />Formal: police/security<br />Informal: family/owner or recruited/“Samaritan”<br />16<br />CRIME<br />
  21. 21. Association with Social Control Theory<br />Social Bond as “handle”<br />Attachment to others<br />Commitment to conformity<br />Involvement in conventional activities<br />Belief in legal/normative values<br />Intimate handlers<br />Parents, legal guardians<br />Informants<br />Close neighbors<br />17<br />Travis Hirschi<br />
  22. 22. Summary of Routine Activities<br />Assumes “rational actors” calculate cost/benefit<br />Accounts for social change at macro (structural) level<br />Requires “direct violation”that involves<br />Motivated offender<br />Vulnerable target of victim<br />Lack of capable guardianship<br />18<br />
  23. 23. Crime pattern THEORY<br />NEOCLASSICAL CRIMINOLOGY<br />19<br />
  24. 24. Environmental Criminology<br />Based in human and social ecology <br />Understand crime, criminality and victimization by examining the physicality in which crimes occur<br />Determinants of crime: law, offenders, targets, and places<br />Reduce crime opportunities by manipulating space and place<br />20<br />Paul and Patricia Brantingham<br />Brantingham, P. J. & Brantingham, P. L. (1991). Environmental Criminology. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.<br />
  25. 25. Concepts of Crime Pattern Theory<br />Action Space– physical spatial patterns in which individuals live their lives<br />Nodes – daily places of to/from movement<br />Awareness Space –areas individuals have information about; envelops action space<br />Paths– routes between personal activity nodes<br />Cognitive Map –movements along paths between personal activity nodes about which mental images of the environment are formed<br />21<br />
  26. 26. More Concepts<br />Edges – “sharp visual break” in environment between different kinds of land use: residential/commercial, arterials, college campuses, parks, etc.<br />Discrete: divides neighborhoods – creates “in-between” area<br />Connected: by motorized transport; increased mobility allows quick, easy in/out access<br />22<br />
  27. 27. Cognitive Maps<br />Mental map derived from awareness space<br />Distance decay function– increased distance from activity nodes results in less ‘comfort’<br />Offenders less likely to search for targets, thus committing fewer crimes <br />Distance decay varies by crime type: <br />Expressive (affective) – more spontaneous, emotional<br />Instrumental -- buffer zone around home<br />23<br />
  28. 28. The City, Awareness Space, & Mental Maps<br />Urban design, traffic/transit patterns, and criminal activity<br />“awareness spaces and cognitive maps of both offenders and non-offenders will vary based on the actual structure of the city and its transportation system.” (p. 94)<br /> Implications for urban planners and real estate developers<br /> Grid street system easier to negotiate than “organic” system<br /> What is Albany’s street pattern?<br />24<br />
  29. 29. Crime Pattern Theory Elements – 1<br />Basic Assumption: rational motivated offender searches for suitable targets w/in awareness space<br />Motivation: diverse sources, strength and character of motivation vary<br />Actual Crime Commission: end result of multistage decision process<br />Seek out/identify target/victim within general environment positioned in time and space<br />High affect motivation ≈ minimal number of stages<br />High instrumental motivation ≈ many stages/searches<br />25<br />
  30. 30. Crime Pattern Theory Elements – 2<br />Environmental Cues: environment emits of physical, spatial, cultural, legal, psychological signals<br />May be generalized or detailed<br />Cues Aid in Target/Victim Identification: experience or learned social transmission<br />Experiential Knowledge: cues are basis for ‘template’ for victim/target selection<br />Template Construction & Search Process: conscious or unconscious; once established, becomes fixed<br />Clustering of targets/victims: minimizes number of and helps identify offender ‘templates’<br />26<br />
  31. 31. Is Crime Rational?<br />No simple answer<br />Alcohol/drugs impair decision making and limit rationality <br />Low self-control & impulsivity limit rationality<br />The dimensions of self-control affects an individual’s ability to calculate and appreciate the long-term consequences of action – particularly hedonistic, self-satisfying criminal behavior<br />But … decisions need not be ‘completely rational’ to meet assumptions of choice theory<br />27<br />
  32. 32. Study of 86 Active Armed Robbers<br />28<br />Offender motivation<br />Why do the authors believe it is fundamental to understanding criminal behavior?<br />Why did subjects rob?<br />Walking ATMs<br />Keep up appearances<br />Inadequate legal work<br />Pay back money borrowed<br />Richard Wright<br />
  33. 33. Why robbery?<br />Safer/fewer hassles <br />selling burg swag, dealing with junkies<br />Low technical / interpersonal skill set<br />unlike bank robbery or fraud<br />Quick and easy source of cash for “cash intensive lifestyle”<br />29<br />
  34. 34. Back to Motivation<br />Rational choice and routine activities theories assume offenders motivated to crime<br />Social control theory assumes criminal motivation is inherent in human nature (and thus irrelevant in explaining crime)<br />Conduct norms of street-culture emphasize spontaneous hedonism against reflection on long-term consequences and other options<br />30<br />
  35. 35. Jacobs & Wright’s Robbery Model<br />31<br />
  36. 36. A look around Albany<br />Exercise<br />32<br />
  37. 37. Albany Online Crime Mapping<br />33<br />http://www.albanyny.org/Government/Departments/Police/cmapping/maps.aspx<br />
  38. 38. APPSNET – Pine Hills Crime<br />34<br />Zoom in<br />Zoom out<br />Pan<br />Identify<br />Redraw<br />Zoom previous<br />Initial extent<br />Print<br />
  39. 39. Bing Maps – Bird’s Eye View<br />35<br />Science Center<br />http://www.bing.com/maps/Default.aspx?encType=1&v=2&ss=ypid.YN640x11256014&style=r&FORM=LLDP<br />
  40. 40. Urban Campus Safety Project<br />How could neoclassical approaches to the theory of crime, criminality and victimization inform the analysis of crime problems for a college campus embedded in an urban environment?<br /><ul><li>Rational Choice Theory
  41. 41. Routine Activities Theory
  42. 42. Crime Pattern Theory</li></ul>36<br />
  43. 43. Crime science and criminology<br />37<br />
  44. 44. What is Crime Science?<br />Traditional criminology seeks to improve understanding of the psychological and social forces that cause people to become criminals in the hope of finding ways to change these causes. Crime science takes a radically different approach. It focuses not on the reasons why criminals are born or made, but on the act of committing crime. It seeks ways to reduce the opportunities and temptations for crime and increase the risks of detection. In doing so, it seeks contributions from a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, geography, medicine, town planning, and architecture. Crime science explicitly seeks to be judged by the extent to which it helps to reduce crime on our streets, and in our homes and businesses.<br />38<br />Source: Jill Dando Institute for Crime Science. (2004). http://www.jdi.ucl.ac.uk/about/crime_science/index.php<br />
  45. 45. Criminology | Crime Science<br />39<br />