CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORY

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In any society issues of crime are directly linked to social factors such as poverty, lack of education, and lack of moral standards among other issues. Criminology was established as a way of showing the connection that exists between crime and social factors. Thus, criminology can be defined as a scientific study of the causes, nature, extent, and consequences of the crime. It can also help come up with strategies to control crime. Criminological theories were established in criminology as a way of understanding crime through the lens of societal factors. Criminological theories help explain the nature of certain crimes or crime generally based on social issues (Groves & Sampson 1986, p. 58). This paper argues that the understanding of criminological theory can help security managers perform their roles more effectively.

Security management is an issue that goes beyond qualifications because it involves diverse skills that include human management, resource management, time management, and certain theories that act as guiding principles. Criminological theories proved to be helpful in dealing with issues of security management because they link crime to social factors. In other words, criminological theories show that crime exists as an aspect of the real world and is caused by real issues that can be identified within societies in which particular crimes happen. Security management exists because of the fact that crimes do happen and they must be addressed because they are undesirable. Therefore, security management makes use of criminological theories. This means that understanding of criminological theory can help security managers perform their roles more effectively (Vold, Bernard, & Snipes 1998, p. 51).

Various schools of thought that relate to criminological theories assert that security and crime management can only be effective if security managers clearly understand the provisions of criminological theories. A rational Choice Deterrence Theory is founded on the classical theory that explains that crime is an aspect of the analysis between costs and benefits of crime. When the benefits of crime outweigh the costs, people are inclined to commit crime. Classical theory explains that crime is a free willed choice and happens when people pursue their self-interest in the absence of effective punishments (Bernard & Snipes 1996, p. 201). Rational Choice Deterrence Theory builds on a classical theory and states that crime is not only a choice that is influenced by its costs and benefits but also by the immediacy of costs. The theory asserts that information about the benefits and costs is as a factor of direct experiences with punishment and avoidance of punishment, or indirectly through observing other people, who have been punished. Therefore, these factors are important to consider when looking at issues of crime and control of crime.

When security managers develop an understanding of Rational Choice Deterrence criminological theory, they can perform their roles more effectively. The rational choice perspective considers crime to be purposive and deliberate in that people who commit crime engage in it because they have the motive to benefit from the act. Benefits can take a form of money, property, and other materials, but it also can take other forms such as prestige, excitement, fun, sexual gratification, and dominance. This theory encourages security managers not only to seek an understanding why people engage in crime, but also what they get and how they can use this information to perform their roles related to security management.

In order to solve crimes, it is important for security managers to understand the factors that make people engage in crime. Rational choice theory helps security managers put themselves in the position of criminals and see why they might engage in crime. For instance, through understanding the theory, security managers can ask themselves several important questions, for instance, why do criminals engage in crime? The answer to this question is provided by rational choice theory, which states that criminals engage in crime to derive benefit. Understanding the reasons why crime happens is the first step for security managers to form strategies to address crime issues (Boba 2005, p. 61).

The theory also helps security managers to understand what criminals get by engaging in crime so that they can solve the problem. For instance, rational choice theory explains that people engage in crime because of the benefit that they get from it. Here, the ‘what’ is the ‘benefit’ of engaging in crime. Therefore, security managers can use this to increase costs of engaging in crime so that they can address the issue of crime effectively. It is impossible for security managers to perform their roles without understanding the motives and issues that encourage people to engage in crime. This is because lack of this understanding makes them focus on issues that do not deter the crime from happening. Security managers must understand all aspects of crime, especially from a perspective of a criminal. This makes them knowledgeable about the issues of crime and effective in formulating strategies that are meant to solve and control crime.

The most important aspect of rational choice deterrence theory is that it assumes that crime does not happen as a by-chance issue or an issue that happens accidentally. Rather, it assumes that crime is a well-planned act and has reasons behind it. This is important for the effectiveness of security managers because when they engage in practices meant to control crime, they put into consideration the fact that crime is a planned action. Therefore, if a crime is a planned act, why should security managers not plan, even more adequately, the strategies of controlling crime? This understanding makes them effective as it gives them confidence to go beyond the plans of criminals. This is because the work of security managers involves foreseeing crimes or loopholes that may attract crime and prevent them from happening (Gottschalk 2009, p.71).

Rational choice deterrence approach assumes that decisions characterizing crime have an aspect of limited or bounded rationality. Thus, it assumes that criminal decision-making is never perfect because it is influenced by certain conditions under which these decisions are made. For instance, when planning a crime, a person may be bound by factors, such as lack of information, with respect to the place where he or she wants to commit crime. The risks and uncertainty that is associated with crimes can make criminals make decisions without full knowledge about potential costs and benefits involved. This is advantageous to a security manager because he or she is in a better position to plan and make informed decisions since he does not have to deal with any associated risks and uncertainty. A security manager understands his roles and knows what is expected of him or her. Therefore, the understanding of the theory makes security managers effective in performing their roles.

Unlike other theories, such as positivist theories, that do not have the aspect of crime specificity, the rational choice deterrence theory has the aspect of crime specificity that makes security managers effective in their responsibilities. The theory posits that the factors that criminals consider and the variables that are related to the factors affect their decision-making process. This means that their decision-making and factors involved differ largely with respect to the nature and type of the offence. Therefore, when security managers make decisions on dealing with and controlling crimes, they must analyze the needs of decision-making to be in line with specific categories and nature of the crime. The theory shows security managers that criminal activities vary in terms of nature and aspects that influence decision-making abilities of criminals. Thus, it makes them effective by differentiating criminal activities in terms of their nature and formulating strategies to control crimes depending on their nature and variability (Clarke & Felson n.d., 41).

Rational choice deterrence theory is divided into two groups, including involvement and even decisions. Involvement decisions involve choices that an offender makes with respect to criminal career. This means that a criminal must make certain decisions that relate to embarking on criminal actions. He has to decide whether to continue with these activities over a certain period of time, if at all it occurs, or stop engaging in criminal activities. This means that a criminal in this category must make decisions about entrance, habituation, and desistance of the career. On the other hand, event decisions refer to the choices and decisions that are made or are to be made when engaging in crime. Decisions made depend on the perceptions that the offender has on the situation and associated risks, rewards, and efforts. When a criminal act unfolds, the perpetrator must make certain decisions (Crowther 2007, p. 78).

This division makes the theory stand out from the rest of theories such as the positivist, labelling, and critical criminology. This is because it does not only look at the differences of crime but also looks at various decisions that a criminal has to make when considering crime issues. This is advantageous for security managers because it helps them become effective, first, by analyzing the difference in choices that are likely to be made by criminals, and, secondly, by making informed decisions about crime and criminal issues. An understanding of the type of criminals to be dealt with and attention to involvement decisions and event decisions are important for security managers. The type of crime that a criminal engages in might influence these decisions. This helps security managers understand the type of criminals that they may have to deal with in particular areas of interest. Security managers cannot be effective if they do not understand their reasons and decisions for engaging in crime. Security managers must first investigate the nature of crimes that happen and criminals that perpetrate criminal activities. This will help them draw conclusions with respect to factors such as whether the same criminal activities are bound to happen again, will they be committed by same or different perpetrators, or whether perpetrators are likely to commit different forms of crime. Drawing patterns in crime is a valuable process for formulating strategies to prevent and control crimes. Therefore, the theory gives security managers knowledge and understanding of the importance of drawing significant patterns in crime and linking these patterns to criminals and crime activities. This helps them be effective in formulating strategies and ways that will ensure that they are effective in preventing and controlling crime.

Rational choice deterrence theory assumes that when benefits outweigh the costs of engaging in crime, criminals tend to engage in crime because of the promise of benefits that they are bound to get. The link between benefits and costs is a very significant concept in preventing and controlling crime. It is important for security managers to understand this link as it is meaningful. The theory considers criminals as intelligent and can establish a link between the two and analyze their chances. This presents a challenge to security managers because they must be intelligent and apply intelligent strategies if they are to solve crime issues. Security managers can make this link a core principle in their strategies to make the cost higher than the benefit to deter criminals from engaging in crime. In order to nub the criminals, they could also be intelligent and make the cost seem smaller than the benefit for criminals, while indeed it is the opposite (Carrington & Russel 2002, p. 147).

The rational choice deterrence theory has certain limitations with respect to its applicability to the effectiveness of security managers. The first limitation is the notion of rationality, which has many interpretations, and it becomes unclear, which one should be applied. The first interpretation is thoughtful deliberation that refers to the computational and deliberative capacity as argued by Herbert Simon (1957) (Simon 1957, p. 23). Another interpretation is acting for reasons, which is also referenced to as the rationalist concept of action. Another interpretation is that people try to do their best in the circumstances they find themselves in. This is challenging for security managers as it is not clear which of these interpretations of rationality they should apply in formulating strategies to address criminal activities. As such, it makes them engage in certain decisions that may be misinformed and end up harbouring crimes instead of discouraging them. Another limitation is that the theory fails to address new issues in crime as it focuses on utility of maximization, which could be perceived as the rationale behind almost all-human behaviour.

In conclusion, understanding of criminological theory can help security managers perform their roles more effectively. Rational choice deterrent theory is the best theory that can help security managers be effective in their role as it addresses different angles when it comes to considering aspects of crime and crime prevention and control. It exposes security managers to different issues discussed above that when analyzed can help them come up with better strategies that are effective to prevent and control crime.

Reference List

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