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Choice Theory pp.84-103

Rational Choice Theory (Choice Theory)

The view that crime is a function of a decision-making process in which the potential offender weighs the potential costs and benefits of an illegal act.

Classical Criminology

A theory of crime suggesting that criminal behavior is a matter of personal choice, made after the individual considers its costs and benefits, and that the criminal behavior reflects the needs of the offender

Offense-Specific Crime

A crime in which the offender reacts selectively to the characteristics of a particular criminal act.

Offender-Specific Crime

A crime in which offenders evaluate their skills, motives, needs, and fears before deciding to commit a criminal act.


The excitement of exhilaration of successfully executing illegal activities in dangerous situations

Seductions of Crime

The situational inducements or immediate benefits that draw offenders into law violations

Situational Crime Prevention

A method of crime prevention that seeks to eliminate or reduce particular crimes in specific settings

Defensible Space

The principle that crime can be prevented or displaced by modifying the physical environment to reduce the opportunity that individuals have to commit crime


An effect that occurs when efforts to prevent one crime unintentionally prevent another


An effect that occurs when crime control efforts targeting a particular locale help reduce crime in surrounding areas and populations


An effect that occurs when crime control efforts simply move, or redirect, offenders to less heavily guarded alternative targets


An effect that occurs when crime reduction programs produce a short-term positive effect, but benefits dissipate as criminals adjust to new conditions


An effect that occurs when criminals try new offenses they had previously avoided because situational crime prevention programs neutralized their crime of choice

General Deterrence

A crime control policy that depends on the fear of criminal penalties, convincing the potential law violator that the pains associated with crime outweigh its benefits

Specific Deterrence

The view that criminal sanctions should be so powerful that offenders will never repeat their criminal acts


Confinement in jail or prison


Repetition of criminal behavior

Incapacitation Effect

The view that placing offenders behind bars during their prime crime years reduces their opportunity to commit crime and helps lower the crime rate

Crime Discouragers

People who serve as guardians of property or people

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