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 …show more content…
They are value, inertia, visibility, and access. Value refers to what the target is worth to the offender. Inertia refers to the ability of a target to be taken. Visibility refers to how easily targets are seen by offenders. Access is how easily targets can be accessed by offenders. Each of these elements are important to the routine activity theory and can lead to increases in crime without any change in the offender population (Felson and Clarke, 1998). Rational Choice Theory concentrates on reasons that an individual thinks through each action, deciding whether or not the crime is worth committing. The goals can be financial, pleasure, or some other beneficial result. The Rational Choice Theory perspective as presented by Cornish and Clark (1985) is based upon three concepts; (one) criminal offenders are rational and make choices and decisions that benefit themselves; (two) a crime- specific focus is required; and (three) there is a distinction between choices related to criminal involvement and decisions related to criminal events. The theory of rational choice theory examines offender decision making and the factors that affect it such as assessments of risks, rewards, and morality of various behaviors (Clarke, 1983). The balance between likely risks and rewards influences offenders target selection (Clarke, 1983). According to

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