Classical Criminology And Deterrence Theory

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(1) Deterrence theory takes root in the concepts of classical criminology. The theory asserts that people making rational decisions to commit crime as a means of pursuing their own personal interests by increasing their pleasure and reducing their pain. Offenders commit crime because its advantageous. To deter crime, swift, certain, and appropriately severe punishments must be imposed. Individuals will reject the option to offend because they are fearful of the certainty, swiftness and severity of the penalty.
General deterrence focuses on overall society and its basic understanding that punishment is the consequence for committing crime. The individuals themselves may not have offended, but understand there are consequences for illegal
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Their experience in being punished acts as the deterrent in committing future crime. In using the example from above, under specific deterrence, the individual arrested, taken to the precinct for arrest processing, and assumingly arraigned at Criminal Court for Theft of Service, may be sentenced to a fine, community service, or jail time. Suffering through the punishment may act as a deterrent from committing future crime.
(4) Rational Choice Theory, following the concepts of classical and deterrence theory, emphasizes the rationale decision making ability of offenders in their choice to engage in crime to promote their own self-interests of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain.
The work by Cornish and Clarke examines the concept that people are not completely rational, in that they may be limited by time, ability, and the availability of pertinent information. Under their model, an individual’s rational choice involves a lessened consideration on costs and benefits, when compared to deterrence theory. Deterrence theory places greater value on costs associated with crime as a penalty. Additionally, rational choice theory understands that people value benefits in different ways, with some placing higher value on certain things than others; deterrence theory accepts that benefits are parallel for the general
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That fear causes a societal breakdown, allowing criminal activity to flourish. It is different from social disorganization theories in that it rejects the notion that societal or economic disadvantages is a fundamental contributor to crime.
Broken Windows is applied today through practices of the NYPD, specifically by quality-of-life enforcement and increased police presence in crime “hot spots”. Research has not yet definitively proven that this method of policing is responsible for a reduction in serious crime. As a police officer, I would say that a quality-of-life enforcement does not reduce future serious crimes, but increased police presence in high crime target areas does somewhat restore social order by acting as a visible deterrent to offenders.
Before answering, I must say that I do not believe that zero-tolerance and quality-of-life policing are one in the same because zero-tolerance takes away the individual officer’s ability to show discretion, whereas quality-of-life enforcement, especially today, allows the officer to simply give a verbal warning, a Criminal Court Summons, or a Desk Appearance Ticket instead of the long-standing practice of 24-hour arrest to arraignment

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