The Good and Bad of R.A.T. Theory.
Why do people commit crime? It depends on who you ask and how you look at it, also what you define crime as. There are many theories out there about why people commit crime.
One of these theories is Routine Activities Theory. Routine activities theory was first articulated in a series of papers by Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson. Crime and victimization involve the intersection of three factors: targets, guardians, and motive. The following quote gives a description of these three motives.
Cohen and Felson assume that both the motivation to commit crime and the supply of offenders are constant. Every society will always have some people who are willing to break the law for revenge, greed, or some other motive. The volume and distribution of predatory crime (violent crimes against a person and crimes in which an offender attempts to steal an object directly) are closely related to the interaction of three variables that reflect the routine activities of the typical American lifestyle:
1. The availability of suitable targets, such as homes containing easily salable
2. The absence of capable guardians, such as police, homeowners, neighbors,
friends, and relatives,
3. The presence of motivated offenders, such as large number of unemployed
The presence of these components increases the likelihood that predatory crime will take place. Targets are more likely to be victimized if they are poorly guarded and exposed to a large group of motivated offenders such as teenage boys.
Cohen and Felson argue that crime rates increased between 1960 and 1980 because the number of adult caretakers at home during the day...
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