The main theories associated with crime reduction and prevention are listed below. Some are closely related to each other.
We hope to add to this list over time and look to crime reduction practitioners to identify useful reference sources and theories they wish to see included. Please contact us
with your thoughts and suggestions to make this area a useful resource to practitioners both new and experienced.
Click here to email your comments or contact the Website Manager, Stuart Charman, on 01347 825064.
Routine Activity Theory � this assumes that for a crime to occur there must be a convergence in time and space of three
minimal elements: a likely offender, a suitable target, and the absence of a capable guardian against crime.
Rational Choice Theory (summary page under development) � this assumes that offending behaviour is designed to benefit the offender in some way. It seeks to understand
how the offender makes crime choices, driven by a particular motive within a specific setting, which offers the opportunities to satisfy that motive. The focus of modus operandi
here is closely linked to Situational Crime Prevention.
Situational Crime Prevention (summary page under development) � although not strictly a theory, this approach takes an offender�s motives and propensities as given and
therefore seeks to influence the offender�s decision or ability to commit crimes at particular places and times.
Opportunity Theory (summary page under development) � seeks to re-emphasise opportunity as a cause of crime, regardless of criminal inclinations. Opportunity is necessary
and is the single principle that governs the theory of how settings cause crime: that easy or tempting opportunities entice people into criminal action.
Displacement Theory – classifies the types of crime displacement that may occur when a crime is prevented. Reviews
of displacement suggest that displacement occurs much less frequently or fully than previously thought, but it is still a consideration in crime prevention work.
Date added: 22 January 2002
Review date: July 2002
Originator: Crime Reduction College Information Team
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