Situational Crime Prevention Techniques

For punishment to attain its end, the evil which it inflicts has only to exceed the advantage derivable from the crime… Applying this theory, it will thus be noted that when benefits outweigh costs, the offender’s motivation to commit a crime will increase. however, the prospect of punishment functions as a deterrent, undermining the offender’s motivation to commit a crime. The underlying proclivity to commit a crime is largely dependent upon the free will of the individual and situational factors are not ascribed as much importance. The underlying assumption of this theory is that the choice to commit a crime is a free will choice and will be executed when the offender is motivated by noticing that the benefits outweigh the costs. The rational choice model that was put forward by Cornish and Clarke (1985) proposes that free will does play a role in the motivation to commit a crime, however, this model also takes into account certain background and situational factors that are likely to play a role in the decision to commit a crime. Background factors that may play a role include the intelligence of the individual, the family background and the kind of neighborhood the person lives in. Situational factors that may play a role would include being persuaded by friends, or consumption of drugs and alcohol which would temporarily loosen a person’s normal moral inhibitions, arguments with a spouse, all of which may lead people who are normally moral, into seizing what appears to be an opportunity to commit a crime and get away with it. Therefore, the rational choice model does ascribe a role to motivation, since the inclination to commit a crime will be determined by situational factors that may work by increasing a person’s motivation to commit a crime on the basis that he or she may be able to get away with it.Situationalism views crime as being the illegal actions of rational, reasonable people who make internal psychological judgments or calculations arising in response to specific situations or circumstances (Hughes, 1998). As a result, a crime is the result of a free will choice made by an individual to engage in criminal activity based upon his/her perception of the advantages vis a vis the risks involved. The motivation of the offender will play a significant role in crimes of choice since they are likely to engage in criminal activity only if they are motivated to commit the crime because the benefits outweigh the risks.