Criminological Theories Of Situational Crime Prevention

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Introduction Traditionally criminological theory and criminal justice practices have been focused on the criminal in an effort to reduce crime. The United States had over nine million crimes reported to law enforcement in 2016 (FBI, 2017). Such a large number of crimes lend to the notion that there must be many similarities in offenders and comparable incidents suitable for analysis that fall within accepted criminological theories to provide predictable concepts that could be utilized to reduce crime. This simply is not true. Crime and its causes are complex due to a number of various factors that may motivate offenders and furnish suitable opportunities. Crime is difficult to predict, solve and deter. Criminological theory and criminal justice…show more content…
Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) acknowledged within their self-control theory that the opportunities for crime are readily accessible and crime is typically not difficult to perform. Yet, Gottfredson and Hirshi focused on the lack of self-control as the cause of crime rather than the opportunities for crime. Cohen and Felson (1979) in describing the routine activity theory, later stated that motivated offenders must find suitable targets that lack guardians in order for crime to occur. Situational crime prevention strategies were the first to focus on specific crimes, the environment and the reduction of crime opportunities. The situational crime prevention theory originated in the Home Office Research Unit of the British Government in the 1970’s (Clarke, 2018). The results of their research were published in Crime as Opportunity (Mayhew, Clarke, Sturman, & Hough, 1976). The research was dismissed by many criminologists at the time as many believed that their conclusion that crime could be reduced through the removal of opportunities was too basic (Clarke, 1980). Ronald Clarke was among those who worked in the Home Office Research Unit and contributed to the early research of situational crime prevention. Clarke has written several articles on situational crime prevention and is now considered the major contributor of the theory as it exists…show more content…
These theories support the main assumptions that crime is a choice and will not occur if the opportunity is absent and rewards are diminished. Routine activity theory. The routine activity theory takes for granted that there are many motivated offenders. Crime rate variance thus depends on the supply of suitable targets and available guardians (Cohen & Felson, 1979). This theory supports the situational crime prevention theory that crime is a choice and can be deterred through the removal of suitable targets or guardianship. Guardianship can be a security guard, a fence, a password or any other person or item that makes a target unsuitable due to increased chances of being caught or the offense too difficult. Routine activity theory is one of the more popular and accepted theories of
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