Opportunity and Proximate situation is
necessary in order for a criminal act to
Created by Navarra Scott
In 1979 Marcus Felson and Lawrence Cohen
developed the routine activity theory,
“chemistry of crime”, and they proposed that
daily lifestyles contribute to the amount and the
type of crime that occur in society not just only
the pathological features of society.
Three elements that explain why crime occur
There must be a motivation to commit the
a vulnerable victim or suitable target must be
absence or unsupervised guardian unavailable to
help prevent crime
of crime is all the ingredients,
offender, target, and guardian, needed for
crime to occur.
The offender has to has to be willing and
opportunity must be available
The target, person or object, must be
The target must not be supervised
Ordinary crimes occur on a regular basis like
corporate, employee theft, federal and state
crimes dealing with money are crimes but
not considered routine activity crimes.
Everyday working people are becoming victims due to
their normal daily everyday lives they led being
observed by offenders
Objects and obstacles are accessible on a daily basis
for a person to successful commit a crime toward
Opportunity theories assert that the criminal makes
decisions and choices depending on the opportunity
and proximate situation that is available for them to
commit the act.
They believed that normal everyday behaviors
(positive) contribute to or bring about crime and
criminal acts, not just negative behaviors contribute
to crime. They researched other areas to try to
explain why crime occurs not just criminology.
The constant convergence of the suitable target
and the absence guardian causes crime to
Poverty can contribute to criminal behavior, but
Felson’s and Cohen’s three elements must exist
in order for crime to occur, and if one is absent
the crime will not occur.
Crime is therefore considered normal, and is
dependent on available opportunities to offend.
victims are often blamed for the crimes that
occur against them, and they become targets
because of their daily routine activities.
Since crime can be committed by anyone that is given the
opportunity, and the victims have a choice to protect them
self from being a victim Felson believed the key to solving
crime is to reverse the three elements that initiated it.
Three strategies to situational crime prevention
Natural strategies: people go where crime is not suspected
Organized strategies: Supervision is present to deter or
Mechanical strategies: advanced technology, cameras and
alarms, are present to prevent crime
Felson believed that displacement illusion, making crime
difficult in one area so it has no choice but to move in
another area, would prevent crime.
Simply put, crime will disappear in one area as if it stop
and it will increase in another area, this area than is
targeted for criminal acts.
R. A., Cullen, F. T., & Lilly, J. R. (2011).
Criminological Theory: Context and
Consequences. Thousand Oaks: Sage