Deterrence Theory And Its Effect On The Individual 's Perception Of The Crime Essay

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Deterrence theory is influential in understanding shoplifting, but many shortcomings in this perspective should be addressed to encompass the crime. Deterrence theory understands that when there is a low likelihood of getting caught or the punishment is minimal it will not deter the individual from the crime. This theory theorizes the individual as a rational actor who understand the penalties and can logically think and control their actions accordingly. Shoplifters may not be informed of the likelihood of detection, risks, or other punishments of the crime. In this theory:
Perceptions of sanction threats are not strongly related to the actual levels of punishment [which] does not speak well of the ability of the criminal justice system to regulate criminal conduct through policies aimed at making punishment more certain, severe, or swift (Paternoster 2010:810) It is difficult to support the degree a deterrent effect can change the individual’s perception of the costs in committing the crime. Policy studies about the policing of “hot spots” and police “crackdowns” do generally show that there is at least an initial general deterrent effect in response to the enhanced presence of the police and police actions, and that offenders rationally readjust their perceptions of the risk of sanctions and reduce their offending (Paternoster 2010:819). Overall, for deterrence theory to work well, the shoplifter must be tempted by the immediate gains of committing the crime and
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