economic model of crime

Topics: Crime, Criminology / Pages: 8 (1778 words) / Published: Nov 7th, 2013
Consider major government policies and events since the last general election and evaluate their likely impact on crime. Base your arguments on the economic model of crime.

In this essay I will examine how government polices since the last general election have impacted crime levels. The economic model of crime pioneered by Gary S. Becker in 1968 describes how criminals weigh up the costs and benefits of criminal activity against the legal alternatives. The model has four main aspects in it, which are: the utility derived from legal work (U (W)), the likelihood of getting caught when engaging in criminal activity (p), utility from successful crime (U(W ͨ )) and the disutility from punishment when getting caught (U(S))

U (W) < (1 - p) * U (W ͨ) p * U(S)

The model basically shows that you should be a criminal if the benefits, including the possibility of being punished, are greater than in legal life. Theoretically crime should decrease when the risk of getting caught increases and when punishment is made tougher. During a recession crime rates can either increase or decrease, this is because it can increase crime as there are less work opportunities but it can also decrease crime as there is less being produced so therefore less to steal. The model works best for property crimes as the utility from the crime is greatest but the model can also be applied to violent, anti-social and non-monetary crimes.

One policy used by the government to help the police fight crime more effectively was the electing of police and crime commissioners in November 2012. The commissioners’ help reduce crime as they: regularly engage with the public, set the force budget, update a police and crime plan, work with others to find better ways to prevent crime and also hold the chief constable to account for policing in the area. This policy increases the likelihood of criminals getting caught in Becker’s model of crime and therefore is likely to reduce the amount of

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