Realist Theories of Crime & Deviance 5

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  • Realist Theories of Crime & Deviance 5
    • Tackling Crime (Right Realism)
      • Right realists do not see the point in trying to deal with the causes of crime since these cannot be easily changed. Instead, they seek practical measures to make crime less attractive
        • Their main focus is on control, containment and punishment of offenders rather than eliminating the underlying causes of offending or rehabilitation of offenders
        • Crime prevention policies should therefore the rewards and increases the costs of crime to the offender, for example by 'target hardening', greater use of prisons and ensuring punishments follow soon after the offence to maximise their deterrent effect
      • A policy favoured by right realists is the 'zero tolerance' policy. This is where there is a punishment for every infraction of a stated rule, therefore forbidding people in positions of authority from exercising discretion or changing punishments to fit the circumstances
      • Crime reduction strategies
        • Situational Crime Prevention
          • Alter situations in order to make it more difficult to commit crimes or increasing the risk of getting caught by doing things such as increasing surveillance
        • Rational choice Theory
          • Ron Clarke (1980) suggests crime can be reduced by managing the immediate environment and making the whole neighbourhod more crime resistant
        • Felson (1998): Bus Terminal in NYC
          • The bus terminal was poorly designed which led to lots of crime although there was a reduction in crime when the physical environment was reshaped
        • Chaiken et al. (1974): Displacement theory
          • He argued that situational crime prevention strategies do not reduce crime but simply displace it or make it move to another place or another time
        • Environmental Crime Prevention
          • Focuses on making whole neighbourhoods or larger areas more crime resistant. This can be achieved through architectural designs which help create 'defensible space' for the public and making it difficult for people to commit crime
    • Left Realism Evaluation
      • Strengths
        • It situates criminal actions within the choices that individuals make
        • It is critical of those explanations that excuse criminal behaviour
      • Weaknesses
        • It is not always obvious what traditional values are
        • It is based on crude biological determinsm
        • Ignores wider issues, such as poverty
        • Only focuses on petty street crime, ignoring crimes like murder
        • Zero tolerance may allow police to discriminate against ethnic minorities


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