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Routine Activities Theory

As a researcher, have you found that there is more or less support for the Routine Activities Theory (RAT)? What side of this debate do you take?

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RAT is a very simple approach to the commission of crime as well as who is likely to be a victim. It holds that three variables must come together at the same time in order for a crime to occur. These are a vulnerable target, a lack of authority figures (or an equivalent) to interfere and finally, an offender who has an internal and intrinsic motivation to commit the crime. These deal largely with who is likely to be a victim of crime, but, to a much more limited extent, it also predicts who a criminal will be (Franklin, et al 2012).

The problem with RAT is that it explains too much. All theories of crime assume that a criminal finds a vulnerable target, is motivated and acts in relative freedom. This gets us nowhere. It is excessively simple in both explaining who commits crime as well as who can be victimized by it.

To be a motivated offender is, by definition, to have a criminal mind. That's what "motivation" means. A vulnerable target is a tautology, since a target for a crime, is, by definition, vulnerable unless the criminal is so incompetent that ...

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The expert examines routine activities theory.