Essay about Routine Activity Theory and Rational Choice Theory

Essay about Routine Activity Theory and Rational Choice Theory

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The study of criminology is why individuals commit crimes and why they behave in certain situations. When you understand why someone might commit a crime, you can come up with ways to prevent or control the crime. There are several different theories in criminology, in this paper I will be discussing Routine Activity Theory and Rational Choice theory. I will be comparing and contrasting as well between the two of these theories.
Routine Activity Theory focuses on situations of crime. This theory was used by Cohen and Felson (1979) to explain the rising crime rates in the United States. Cohen and Felson explained that crime rates could vary without actual changed in the number of potential offenders or offender motivation. The theory has three assumptions; a likely offender, a suitable target, and the absence of a guardian. A likely offender includes anyone with an inclination to commit a crime (Felson, 1983). Examples of a suitable target would be a person, object, or place (Cohen and Felson, 1979). Capable guardians would refer to police patrols, security guards, parents, neighbors, friends, and etc. Cohen and Felson (1979) argued that the same structure of routine activities influences criminal opportunity and therefore affects trends in direct contact predatory violations. Drawing from the human ecological theories, Cohen and Felson (1979) suggested that the structural changes in routine activity patterns can influence crime rates by affecting the convergence in time and space of the three elements that I listed above. Offenders are on the prowl and looking for how alert the victim is, if their alone, and the time of the day. Followers of this theory believe that crime is inevitable, and that if the target is attractive enou...


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...erally take the opportunity. There are downfalls to this theory, as it does not take into account any other aspects of the individual committing the crime (Morrow, 2014). However, using the Routine Activity Theory, we can effectively create programs that make it more difficult not only for people to commit crime but also make them less easy to victimize (Morrow, 2014). .



Works Cited

Brantingham, Paul J. & Brantingham, Patricia L. (eds.). (1981). Environmental Criminology. Waveland Press.
Clarke, R.V. & Eck, J (2003) Becoming a Problem-Solving Crime Analyst. Jill Dando
Felson, M. & Clarke, R. V. (1998). Opportunity Makes the Thief. Police Research Series
Finkelhor,D & Asdigian, N. (1996) Risk Factors for Youth Victimization: Beyond a Lifestyles/Routine Actives Theory Approach
Simpson, S. (2000). Of crime and criminality: The use of theory in everyday life.

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