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Rational Choice Theory and Crime Control Strategies

A wealthy man and his pregnant wife were going through a divorce. Rather than pay alimony and child support the man hired someone to kill his wife and make it look like an accident.

How is criminal behavior explicable according to rational choice theory? What crime control strategies are effective according to rational choice theory?

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Hi,

Interesting questions! Let's take a closer look through discussion and research. I also added an extra reading section at the end of this response.

RESPONSE:

1. How is criminal behavior explicable according to rational choice theory?

In criminology, the Rational Choice Theory adopts a Utilitarian belief that man is a reasoning actor who weighs means and ends, costs and benefits, and makes a rational choice. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_choice_theory_(criminology). Thus, crime in explicable or reasonable given the actor makes rational choices to meet their need after weighing the costs and benefits of the action.

According to this view, then, law-violating behavior should be viewed as an event that occurs when an offender decides to risk violating the law after considering his or her own personal situation (need for money, personal values, learning experiences) and situational factors (how well a target is protected, how affluent the neighborhood is, how efficient the local police happen to be). Before choosing to commit a crime, the reasoning criminal evaluates the risk of apprehension, the seriousness of the expected punishment, the value of the criminal enterprise, and his or her immediate need for criminal gain." (Siegel, p.131, 1992)

In other words, the wealthy man made a rational choice to kill his pregnant wife after evaluating the situation in terms of personal gain and decided that rather than pay alimony and child support, and in terms of the rsik of apprehension, he decided that he would hire someone to kill his wife and ...

Solution Summary

In reference to the scenario, this solution explains how criminal behavior is explicable according to rational choice theory. It then identifies and explains the crime control strategies that are effective according to rational choice theory.

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