The Evidence that Criminals Make Rational Choices Essay

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The Evidence that Criminals Make Rational Choices

Research has shown that people who are predisposed to committing crime are more concerned about gaining the approval of peers and significant others and are more likely to believe that crime is not morally wrong, than any fear of detection, punishment, educational sanctions or even rejection by parents

The tendency to commit a crime is related to the life experiences of children and the exposure to society as they grow up.

When an individual is prone to committing a crime, he/she will become more inclined by the social norms that encourage/discourage criminal activity and they will have a need to fit in rather than a fear of reprisals.
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People give up crime because:

* Of shock i.e. seeing a friend being wounded during a robbery

* Of delayed deterrence i.e. dreading a long sentence

This suggests that criminals are now making rational choices about whether to commit a crime or not.

Bennett and Wright (1984) found that burglars are more likely to plan their burglaries than not planning i.e. only 7% of reported burglaries were 'opportunistic' whereas 59% burglaries were planned before being carried out.

Burglars recognise the significance of personal abilities to complete a job and plan it carefully. Sampson (1987) found a strong positive correlation between the number of single adults households and the number of burglaries committed on all types of property in the same area.

Percentage of Single-Adult Households

Household composition

Low (0-8%)

Medium (9-18%)

High (19-36%)

Single adult no children

.020

.039

.051

Two adults no children

.009

.002

.031

Single adult with children

.077

.128

.143

Two adults with children

.027

.031

.044

This table shows the connection between the areas where the percentage of single adult households is medium or high and the high risk of being burgled regardless of what type of property you live in. The evidence shows the

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