The Routine Activities Theory Essay

1112 words - 4 pages

There are many definitions to theory. According to Akers, “theories are tentative answers to the commonly asked questions about events and behavior.” Theory is a set of interconnected statements that explain how two or more things are related, based upon a confirmed hypotheses and established multiple times by disconnected groups of researchers.
There are six elements that make a theory sound. These elements are scientific criteria provide whether or not the theories are scientific. The most important of these elements is empirical validity, which uses evidence to confirm or disprove a theory and have criteria for interpreting data as factual, irregular or unrelated. The other major elements include internal logical consistency, scope and parsimony, testability, and usefulness and policy implication. A theory must be logically consistent. In order to be so, it must have clearly defined concepts, have logically stated and internally consistent propositions. If a theory contains pointless ideas or is inconsistent, it can't really explain anything. Scope refers to the assortment of events that it propositions to explain.
Routine Activities Theory includes elements from deterrence and rational choice theories. Routine Activity Theory provides a simple and influential imminent into the sources of crime problems. The main idea is that in the lack of valuable controls, offenders will prey upon attractive targets. In order for crime to occur, a motivated offender must come in contact directly or indirectly with a target. The target is a thing or an object if it is a property crime. The target is a person if it is a personal crime. If a target is never in the same place as a motivated offender, the target can never be a victim of crime. Also, there are formal or informal guardians whose existence can stop crime. If the guardians are absent, or present but ineffective, crime is possible.
Routine Activities Theory has four basic elements, time, place, objects, and persons. These elements were place into three main categories of variables. These variables “increase of decrease the likelihood that persons will be victims of ‘direct contact’ predatory crime” (35). These categories are motivated offenders, suitable targets, and capable guardians. “the main proposition of this theory is that the rate of criminal victimization is increased when there is a ‘convergence in space and time of the three minimal elements of direct contact predatory violations’ that is, the likelihood of crime increases when there are one or more persons present who are motivated to commit a crime, a suitable target or potential victim is available, and the absence of formal or informal guardians who could deter the potential offender.” (put into own words.)
The founders, Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson defined Routine activities as ‘“recurrent and prevalent activities that provide for basic population and individual needs… formalized work, as well as the provision of standard...

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