Investigating The Causes Of Criminal Activity Essay

1058 Words Apr 17th, 2016 5 Pages
When examining the causes of criminal activity, many theorists devote their attention to the offenders themselves, and what it is that may motivate them to commit crime. However, even if offenders are motivated to commit crimes, they can only do so if the opportunity to commit the crime is available to them. Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson developed routine activity theory (RAT) to explain how criminal opportunities vary according to time and place (Drawve, Thomas & Walker, 2014). Therefore, a decrease in the number of opportunities to commit crime would cause the number of crimes committed to decrease as well. RAT proposes that crime is influenced by the opportunities that arise throughout normal daily activities.
Felson and Cohen argued that in order for a crime to occur, there were three necessary requirements: a motivated offender, a suitable target, and a lack of guardianship (Drawve et al., 2014). First, an offender must have the inclination to commit a criminal act. A criminal act will only occur if an individual is motivated to commit the act and is given the opportunity to do so. Next, a suitable or attractive target must be present; this can be a person, object, or piece of property. And finally, there must be an absence of a capable guardian (Drawve et al., 2014). Guardians can be both physical human beings, such as law enforcement, family, or neighbors, or they can be alarms or other security measures. The presence of guardians protects the target and reduces…

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