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NCJ Number: 195423 Find in a Library
Title: Perceptions of Physical, Psychological, Social and Legal Deterrents to Joyriding
Journal: Crime Prevention and Community Safety: An International Journal  Volume:4  Issue:1  Dated:2002  Pages:11-25
Author(s): Emma McDonagh; Richard Wortley; Ross Homel
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 15
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This Australian study examined factors that encourage or discourage "joyriding" from three different but compatible perspectives: deterrence theory, situational prevention, and neutralization theory.
Abstract: Australia has one of the highest rates of motor vehicle theft in the Western world, with one car stolen on average every 4 minutes. In the State of Queensland, 18,577 vehicles were stolen in 1998/99, an increase of 14 percent over the previous year. The majority of these cars were stolen by people aged 10-24 years old, with particularly high rates among males aged 15-19 years old who used the stolen vehicles for short-term use such as joyriding. Joyriding is not only associated with a significant proportion of car thefts, but also with serious traffic accidents and high-speed police pursuits that many times result in the deaths of the juveniles. Participants in the current study were 228 high school students from grades 10, 11, and 12 who responded to a questionnaire in which they ranked the perceived effectiveness of various deterrents to joyriding. Criminal sanctions that involved serious consequences, such as being convicted and sentenced for the offense, were viewed as potentially the most effective legal deterrents. Similarly, informal sanctions that involved serious potential outcomes, such as injury and loss of life, were viewed as the most effective non-legal deterrents. Situational measures considered the most discouraging were those that increased the perceived effort and increased the perceived risk of stealing a car. The most effective neutralizations for joyriding (those most likely to facilitate joyriding) were those that contrasted joyriding with the crime of those in power and those that shifted the blame to the victim for allowing the car to be stolen; the least effective neutralizations (those least likely to facilitate joyriding) involved denying that joyriding hurt anyone or that joyriding is a crime. As predicted, males and self-identified joyriders generally rated the deterrents to joyriding as less effective than did females and non-joyriders. This paper argues that prevention approaches should incorporate a broad, integrated picture of the perceived costs and benefits of joyriding. 4 tables and 41 notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency prevention
Index Term(s): Australia; Deterrence; Deterrence effectiveness; Foreign criminal justice research; Juvenile offenders; Motor Vehicle Theft; Neutralization theory
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