The Classical Approach to Crime Control

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Criminals View Crime

Carla Ibeh

People commit crimes because that is what they want to do. Criminal behavior is a matter of choices. Today, there are many excuses cloaked as reasons for criminal behavior. The misguided nature of these assertions has a serious impact upon crime control strategies. The classical approach to crime control strategies deals with direct intervention tactics. Law enforcement, within this rubric, takes an aggressive posture toward criminal acts. The delayed tactics of a reactionary position is relegated to the illusion of rehabilitation. In the classical view, deviance and crime are addressed in a proactive manner. This strives to be consistent with both legal and social aspects of constraint. Deviant behavior in the form of criminal activity must necessitate a punitive approach to behavior. Such an approach must come with speed, precision and certainty. For control sanctions to work, the systems of justice must work decisively. The attendant criminal justice systems must be capable of deploying the necessary resources. From an historic perspective, the classical school of criminology is often overlooked as a viable crime prevention strategy.

All available scientific, forensic and technical resources should press full force behind a more classical approach to criminology. This effort should be applied within the context of modern times. Following a doctrine of “psychological hedonism”, the classical approach holds that people choose freely among alternatives of behavior. In this view, the perpetrator plans his or her criminal behavior before carrying out his or her actions. The individual creates the basis for their departure from socially, morally or legally sanctioned aspects of behavior. A person calculates the “pain versus the pleasure of an act”, or the gain minus the risk of doing a certain thing. Not unlike the rest of us, the perpetrator carries out his or her conduct as a result of personal calculations. Such...
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