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NCJ Number: 134612 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Choosing Crime: The Criminal Calculus of Property Offenders
Author(s): K D Tunnell
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 201
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
Nelson-Hall Publishers
Chicago, IL 60606
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 86-NIJ-CX0068
Publication Number: ISBN P-8304-1242-5
Sale Source: Nelson-Hall Publishers
111 North Canal Street
Chicago, IL 60606
United States of America
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study was undertaken to explore the thought processes of repetitive property criminals in deciding to commit crimes. Data was collected from personal interviews, official records, and field notes on a sample of 60 male, repeat property offenders incarcerated in Tennessee State prisons.
Abstract: The major issues explored through this study were the motivation to commit property crimes, alternatives to crime commission, neutralization of fears during criminal decision making, and decision making processes. During the analysis of the data, five basic themes emerged. Offenders typically decided to commit crimes by using one or more neutralization techniques, most frequently alcohol or drugs, that aided them in the decision making and in the actual crime commission. Persistent criminals did not give any thought to the potentially negative consequences of their actions. The decision making types explicated in this study characterize individuals who are problematic for society, the judicial system, and the other people whose lives they disrupt. The study found that offenders typically specialized in one type of crime for a period of time, then moved on to another specialty area. Finally, the results indicated that these offenders committed a disproportionate number of crimes because they lacked other alternatives. The author maintains that these findings dispute the generally accepted view of the effectiveness of deterrence and instead point to needed policy changes in the areas of wealth redistribution, educational reform, and structural changes in the criminal justice system.
Main Term(s): Offender profiles; Property crime causes
Index Term(s): Economic analysis of crime; Recidivism causes; Tennessee
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