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NCJ Number: 164759 Find in a Library
Title: Motivational Crime Prevention Strategies and the Role of Opportunity (From Integrating Crime Prevention Strategies: Propensity and Opportunity, P 39-53, 1995, Per-Olof H Wikstrom, Ronald V. Clarke, et al, eds. -- See NCJ-164757)
Author(s): J McCord
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: National Council for Crime Prevention
S-113 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Sale Source: National Council for Crime Prevention
P.O. Box 1386
S-113 21 Stockholm,
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Language: English
Country: Sweden
Annotation: The author believes criminologists have failed to understand motivations for crime that tend to make targets attractive, criticizes motivational assumptions of opportunity theory, and suggests reasons why interventions based on motivational assumptions may actually increase crime.
Abstract: Like many alternative theories about crime causes, opportunity theory rests on the assumption that people are always motivated by self-interest in their intentional actions. In order to account for crime, for example, strain theories refer to barriers between individual desires for personal success and its achievement. Control theories propose that well-socialized behavior relies on trades between satisfying immediate desires and presumed self-interest benefits from delays in gratification. Both theoretical considerations and empirical evidence demonstrate that voluntary actions are not necessarily based on self-interest. Nonetheless, the faulty theory that all motives are fundamentally based on self-interest permeates thinking about crime causes. In focusing almost exclusively on crime patterns and accepting false assumptions about human behavior, criminologists have failed to come to grips with varied grounds for actions that are likely to lead to criminal behavior. The author proposes a strategy for studying criminal behavior that involves looking broadly at the behavior of those committing crimes in order to understand their motives for voluntary actions. 91 references
Main Term(s): Crime prevention measures
Index Term(s): Cause removal crime prevention; Crime causes theory; Crime control theory; Crimes of opportunity; Criminology theory evaluation; Motivation; Opportunity theory
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