Below are several different crime scenarios. Working with your group members, suggest three ways to reduce the following types of crimes: one way that focuses on the motivate offender, one way that focuses on the suitable target, and one way that focuses on the capable guardian.
Then, for each scenario, develop a public policy to help reduce the particular type of crime based on one of the criminological theories we have studied this semester. Be sure to state which theory your group is basing this policy on.
A) A university has become concerned due to an increase in violent crimes occurring in the nightclub district of an adjacent city. Knowing that many of the university’s students frequent the nightclub district, school officials worry that it is only a matter of time before a student falls victim to a violent crime.
Motivated Offender: Make sure that the streets in the nightclub district are well-lit and patrolled regularly to decrease the area’s attractiveness to offenders.
Suitable Target: The school officials, student-run organizations or university police could create a campaign educating students about always staying in groups, calling for a cab or safe ride and self-defense.
Capable Guardian: The university could request increased police presence on weekend nights in the nightclub district or start a no-questions-asked safe-ride program shuttling students between campus and the nightclub district.
Public Policy: The nightclub district could force businesses operating at night to install cameras covering their front entrance and adjacent alleys. Rational choice theory would make potential offenders reconsider committing a crime if they knew they were likely on camera and could be caught.
B) A small town of 25,000 residents has seen a dramatic increase in items being stolen from cars parked in the driveways or in front of residents’ homes. Law enforcement is also concerned by an increase of drug use, especially oxycontin, by local teenagers.
Motivated Offender: Improve street lighting and introduce measures that will make it more difficult to sell items that are frequently stolen from vehicles.
Suitable Target: Launch a campaign using flyers, newspaper ads or other media to advise people that vehicles parked in front of houses and in driveways in nearby homes have been broken into and recommend that people not keep valuables in their vehicles and park vehicles in garages, if possible.
Capable Guardian: Educate parents about talking to their teenagers about prescription drugs and keeping prescription pills safely away from teenagers. Increase police patrols in areas where cars have been broken into.
Public Policy: Create policy that forces teenage drug offenders to perform a significant amount of community service and attend mandatory drug counseling that includes trips to the morgue and listening to speeches from recovering addicts. This type of policy is based on specific deterrence theory.
C) A small city has noted an increase in violent assaults being committed by small groups of young people on lone individuals using the jogging and biking trails in the city’s largest park. Robbery does not appear to be a motive for the assaults. Motivated Offender: Increase the amount of community service and raise the fine for assaults and post signs around the park warning about the punishments for assault.
Suitable Target: Post signs that encourage park users to jog and bike in groups.
Capable Guardian: The city could increase police patrols on bike and foot in areas of the park where assaults are likely.
Public Policy: One policy option could involve implementing additional programs for young people like recreational sports leagues in the park. This utilizes developmental theory by involving young people in positive, noncriminal activity.
D) As the holidays approach, a local mall has experienced an increase in large groups of young people entering stores, grabbing merchandise, damaging displays, and fleeing the scene.
Motivated Offender: Increasing the fines for stealing and vandalism and the likelihood that the offender will be caught by security could deter the motivated offender.
Suitable Target: The stores could place desirable merchandise prone to theft or displays that invite vandalism away from the front of the store and nearer the security office so offenders are less likely to see the merchandise and enter the store.
Capable Guardian: The mall should increase security guard presence or cameras and make sure that store floor plans or displays allow good security.
Public Policy: The mall could introduce policy that does not allow young people under the age of 18 to be in the mall without a parent or guardian or written permission from a parent or guardian and use a security guard to approach and enforce the rule. This is based on incapacitation theory.