Rational Choice Theory In Crime

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The rational choice theory is a point of view developed by criminologists that looks into the decision making behind committing a crime. People make logical decisions to commit crimes. Rational choice has to do with whether the possible pleasure from committing the crime will be greater than the pain if the offender is caught. While the rational choice theory can explain most reasons why people commit crimes, it can not explain all of them. This paper will look at three types of criminals and how rational choice theory applies to them. The first criminals this paper will look at are burglars. The rational choice theory can be applied to most burglars by looking at three main questions criminals will ask themselves. First, what is the likelihood of getting caught? Second, if I do get caught, how bad is the punishment? Third, what is the benefit of committing the crime? Of the over two million burglaries in the US last, only 13% of burglars were arrested. In Iowa, the maximum sentence for burglary is 25 years. The final deciding factor for the potential burglar is if he thinks the value of what he might steal outweighs the potential danger of the crime. With such a low percentage of burglars being caught it could be perfectly rational to commit the crime. The second criminal group to look at are murderers. Since murder is intentional, with malice, and possibly premeditation the rational choice theory applies because the murderer had time to weigh the pros and cons of the
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