Explanation of Crime

Topics: Rational choice theory, Economics, Rationality Pages: 7 (2242 words) Published: September 6, 2013
Name of Course: The Explanation of Crime
Code of Course: CMY3701
Semester Code: 02 - Second Semester
Assignment Number: 01 - Compulsory
Student Name: Riëtte du Bruyn
Student Number: 4238-255-6
Unique Number: 363036
Assignment Closing Date: 22 August 2013

Rational Choice Theory

Table of Contents
Section A: 15 marks3
1.Introduction3
2.Definition of Rational Choice3
3.The Six propositions of Rational Choice (Joubert 2009:19-20)3
3.1 First: Crimes are deliberate acts, committed with the intention of benefiting the offender3
3.2 Second: Offenders try to make the best decisions they can, given the risks and uncertainty involved3
3.3 Third: Offender decision-making varies considerably according to the nature of the crime4
3.4 Fourth: Decisions about becoming involved in particular kinds of crime (“involvement decisions”) are quite different from those relating to the commission of a specific criminal act (“event” decisions)4

3.5 Fifth: Involvement decisions comprise three stages (Newburn 2007:283) *initiation: whether the person is ready to begin committing crime in order to obtain what he/she wants * habituation: whether, having started offending, he/she should continue to do so * desistance: whether, at some stage , he/she ought to stop.4

3.6 Sixth: Event decisions involve a sequence of choices made at each stage of the criminal act. For example: preparation (when to do the crime – ie reduce risks), target selection (which house to burgle), commission of the act, escape, and aftermath.4

4.Conclusion5
Section B: 10 marks5
5.News24 Newspaper Article: Ex-Matie killer describes murder in detail5
6.The Link between the article and one of the six propositions in Section A7
7.Conclusion7
8. Bibliography8

Section A: 15 marks
1. Introduction
The Rational Choice Theory has its origin in the Classical School of Criminology which was developed by Ceasare Beccaria (1738-1794), who viewed that crime is rational and can be prevented by suitable punishment. Classical criminology suggests that crime occurs when the offender believes that the benefits outweigh the costs, when they pursue self-interest in the lack of effective punishments. Rational Choice Theory thus interprets criminal behaviour as the product of decisions and choices made before choosing to violate the law. Offenders would be likely to choose crime if punishment were swift, certain, and severe. The implications of this theory are that we assume offenders are rational decision makers who will choose not to commit crime if they believe that they will be caught and severely punished for their crimes. 2. Definition of Rational Choice

At the heart of the rational choice perspective lies the assumption that criminal and delinquent offenders are goal-oriented and seek to exhibit a measure of rationality-on some level they consider the potential costs and benefits of crime and act accordingly (Cornish & Clark 1986). The Rational Choice Theory claims that an offender goes through a rational decision-making process weighing up risks and rewards. Rationality conveys reason, meaning and calculation. They make their choices based on the information available at that moment. Decisions to offend are constrained by time, cognitive ability and information. The offender will commit the crime if the perceived rewards outweigh the perceived risks. 3. The Six propositions of Rational Choice (Joubert 2009:19-20) 3.1 First: Crimes are deliberate acts, committed with the intention of benefiting the offender Individuals make decisions according to what they believe is in their self-interest and that will benefit them. Getting benefits requites rational decision making. Benefits - being usual human motive like revenge, admiration, excitement, and of course money. Example: A 59 year old man robs bank to get health care in jail. He was struggling physically, because he had no health...


Bibliography: 9.1 Clarke, R. Cornish, D. Rational Approaches to crime. Retrieved August 10, 2013, from www.popcenter.org/library/reading/PDFs/.../01_introduction.pdf
9.2 Ex-matie killers describes murder in detail. 2012. News24. Retrieved August 12, 2013, from http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Former-Matie-tells-of-plan-to-rape-murder-ex-20120305
9.3 In Hours, Thieves Took $45 Million in A.T.M Scheme.2013. New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2013, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/10/nyregion/eight-charged-in-45-million-global-cyber-bank-thefts.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
9.4 Joubert, S.J. Joubert, E. Ovens, M. 2009. The Rational actor model of crime and criminal behaviour. Only Study Guide for CMY301H (Explanation of crime). Pretoria. Unisa
9.5 Man held in Evanston teen 's death was seeking revenge, prosecutors’ say.2012.Chicago News. Retrieved August 12, 2013, from http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-09-29/news/ct-met-evanston-shooting-charges-20120929_1_tiffany-rice-jay-parrott-first-degree-murder
9.6 Unemployed man ‘tries to rob bank for one dollar so he can get free healthcare in prison. 2011. Mail Online. Retrieved August 12, 2013, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2006090/Unemployed-Richard-Verone-tries-rob-bank-dollar-free-healthcare-prison.html
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