Choice Theory and Trait Theory
In Relations to the Arlington Crime.
Choice Theory and Trait theory is important when considering reasons
leading to criminal activity. Of the two the most appropriate to consider, while
creating strategies for controlling and/reducing crime, is the Choice theory. It is
necessary to understand both theories and how they affect the possibility of someone
taking part in criminal activity. Cornish and Clarke (1986) construe rational-choice
theory as a way of both “rearranging existing theories and data to throw new light
on criminal behaviors” and as a “policy-relevant perspective on criminal
behavior.” In this belief, they are not alone (Felson and Clarke, 1998;
In the Arlington crime the choice of robbery and murder was made by the
criminal in aspects to the crime. So the choice theory is that the criminals choose to
do the crime knowing what the possible outcome could be. With the trait theory it is
said to be based on the biological and environment status of the criminal. This essay
will explain both theories individually, the affects they have on law implementation,
and the crime of the Arlington men found dead.
I have decided to use the story of the two Arlington men found dead in their apartment complex. In this situation the men can with a gun in the thoughts of robbing the victim. In the end the robbers not only committed a crime of robbery but also a crime of murder. With the crime not being solved it was then committed again and could have been done by the same individuals. Therefore the crimes have not been deterred and wont stop until the criminals are caught or have the feeling of satisfaction in there mind to stop the crime on their own.
Choice theory is the belief that criminals choose to commit crimes. These
crimes are committed after the criminals weigh the potential benefits and
consequences of their criminal acts. Theorists, James Q Wilson (1980) observed that
people who commit crime are unafraid of breaking the law because they value the
excitement and thrills of the crime and are willing to take greater chances than the
average person. In accordance to choice theory to deter crime the punishment
should be as severe as the crime committed. Choice theory is best seen as a
“framework, a rubric or a family of theories” that serves to “organize findings, link
theoretical statements and logically guide theory construction” (Hechter and
Kanazawa (1997). The importance of choice theory is to get the interpretation of
crime and the justification for the crime in the eyes of the criminal and feeling of the
victim. The most important part of the choice theory is the decision making process.
It is a process of cognition and calculation in which a person pursues a desired goal,
weighs likely consequences, and chooses the options to commit or not to commit a
crime. Predictions based on rational outcomes are most accurate in large random
population samples where idiosyncratic differences in decisions cancel each other
(Friedman and Hechter. (1988); Hechter, (1996); Hechter and Kanazawa, (1997).
Many decisions of everyday life are based on imperfect knowledge and crude,
subjective assessments of utility. In many situations, for example, decision makers
opt for what has become convenient and routine and based on the fact of if they feel
they can get away with the crime of if they had already gotten away with the crime.
Beyond rudimentary statements of crime-as-choice theory is a more complex
understanding developed through critique, research, and theoretical elaboration. Its
core is belief that “when faced with several courses of action, people usually do what
they believe is likely to have the best overall outcome” Jon Elster (1989). Choice...
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