Burglary and the Rational Choice Theory
Crime causation is looking at why people commit crimes. There are many theories that have been developed to explain this. The theories can be grouped into eight general categories of which one is the Classical theory (Schmallegar, 2011, p. 79). A subset of this theory, rational choice theory, will be specifically looked at to explain the crime of burglary. Just as no one causation theory explains all crimes committed, the rational choice theory itself does not completely explain why all burglars commit their crimes. Therefore, the pros and cons of the rational choice theory will be discussed in relation to the crime topic of burglary.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting program defines burglary as “the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft. To classify an offense as a burglary, the use of force to gain entry need not have occurred” (Federal Bureau of Investigation,¶1). Peop...
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...ommit crimes every day just for the sake of committing a crime; in other words, they have periods of no criminal behavior. So, their rational choice is to turn to burglary only when they are desperate for money. In essence, they have chosen burglary as their line of work.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. (n.d.). Burglary. Retrieved from website: http://www2.fbi.gov /ucr/cius2009/offenses/property_crime/burglary.html
Schmallegar, F. (2011). Criminal justice today, An introductory text for the 21st century. (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NY: Prentice Hall.
Sturt, G. (2009). Cognition and crime [HTM document]. Retrieved from Lecture Notes Online Web site: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/gary.sturt/crime/
Wright, R.T. & Decker, S. (1994). Burglars on the job: Streetlife and residential break-ins. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press.
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