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May 16, 2018 / C H Thompson

Right realism and crime – revision notes with evaluative points

Tough on crime 

Right realism argues that we should focus on the individuals rather than the wider social issues since these aren’t easily changed. As the individuals choose to commit crime, we must make the costs of committing crime and reduce the opportunities for crime. This approach leads to two main policies: situational crime prevention and increased social control.

Situational crime prevention is aimed at not improving society, but to reduce the opportunities arising for crime to be committed. Felson and Clark argued that we need to ‘design out crime’ by reshaping the physical environment.

The Routine Activity Theory proposed by Felson and Clarke (1990s), says that crime  originates through societal routines and the lack of one of the three conditions listed below makes it less likely for a criminal offence to be committed.

  1. There is a suitable target, such as a person or object
  2. There is no guardian present, such as the police
  3. There is a potential offender present who feels that both points 1 and 2 are present, and so chooses to commit the criminal act

The second theory within situational crime prevention was proposed by Cornish and Clarke (1980s) and was called the Rational Choice Theory.

  • This proposes that offenders weigh up the costs and benefits of committing a crime before they commit it,
  • and so make a rational choice when carrying out a criminal act.

Continues…

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