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Environmental Criminology

Set of tTheories

Environmental criminology refers to a set of theories that consider diverse perspectives about the commission of crimes. Thus, these theories examine particular criminal patterns that are notorious in a particular environment or neighborhood and studies how these patterns affect the cognitive behavior of human beings. The theory was first developed by Patricia and her husband Paul Brandingham in the 1980s. Thus, four main elements must be present for a crime to be said to have occurred. There must be a broken law, an offender, a victim and lastly, a place where the crime has occurred. Therefore, environmental criminology is described in evaluation essay topics https://essaystore.net/evaluation-essay and focuses on the last element of the crime - the place, in which the crime has occurred.
These theorists are greatly concerned about studying how a particular place motivates crimes. Consequently, environmental criminologists are interested not in geographical locations but rather the elements in environment. Such things as the disrepair of buildings, bad lighting, poor state of repairs, and other conditions visible in a neighborhood become the motives for the commission of the crimes. Thus, law enforcement officers can tell where crimes occur and at what time by simply applying this theory. Further, these conditions assist the police during their patrol by helping them develop preventive approaches as opposed to reactionary measures once a crime has already been committed.
The first approach towards explaining environmental criminology the routine activity one. This theory of environmental criminology argues that unemployment, inequality, poverty, and other social causes do not cause crimes in any way. Further, the theory argues that for a crime to occur, offenders must meet their suitable targets in the absence of any suitable guardians. At the same time, theorists argue that the probability of this kind of situation’s occurrence depends on the daily routine of the offender. This routine may include work, family, business, or even leisure. Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson were the first people to propose the theory that is used today by the majority of law enforcement agencies. The theory proposes that the contemporary world is to blame for the increase in crimes. For example, the two scholars argue that after World War II, American and European countries experienced a significant economic development but the increase in crimes was rather serious as well. The modern economy provides routines that are responsible for the commission of crimes. Furthermore, for the changes in a routine to result in a crime, several things must be satisfied. Thus, the offender must be motivated by the environment where they live, a suitable target must be present, and lastly, any capable guardians must be absent.
The theory also holds that there must be a direct predatory effect. In other words, this is the inclination or the need to commit an offense. This inclination is prompted by the fact that with the growth of economic activities, the criminal ones increase correspondingly. Such a situation provides an environment for an offender to commit an offence to the target in an environment where no guardian can be able to witness it. This lack of guardianship simply refers to the absence of police officers to guard the people or property in a neighborhood. Crimes occur when people are in a constant struggle for property, physical control, safety, sexual outlet, and the need for survival. Therefore, these offences follow a certain ecological nature. Furthermore, in some instances, a targeted person could avoid being attacked, which might lead an offender to pursue another individual. Routine activities present offenders with suitable targets; therefore, they lead to the occurrence of crimes. At the same time, such activities also bring together different people from different backgrounds, and sometimes, the meeting of such people presents an opportunity to get access to weapons, used in the commission of such crimes. Lastly, the routine works to separate people from those that they trust and bring together strangers who are always at certain isolated places and in the presence of certain buildings, which could become a catalyst for a crime.
Another approach that may explain environmental criminology is the broken windows theory. This theory considers the social norms of the people living in a particular environment as one of the catalysts for the commission of crimes. For example, if people leave unkempt bushes near their houses, their windows are dirty or broken, or their houses have no doors at all, this might give some idea to offenders. The latter may, for example, think that the place is abandoned, which presents an opportunity for them to steal something from it. The broken windows theory was developed in 1982 by George Kelling and James Wilson after a series of examinations of crimes and disorders in the neighborhood. These theorists linked the commission of such serious crimes as rape and murder to certain disorders. They concluded that the elimination of these kinds of disorders would certainly result in the elimination of the crimes from the neighborhood.
In conclusion, environmental criminology focuses on one of the elements, necessary for a crime. The focus is given to the place where a crime is committed. This can properly be explained through the routine approach and the broken windows theories that seek to show how environments catalyze the commission of crimes. The former theory refers to the offender searching for an environment where they can find a suitable crime target and commit their crime in the absence of a guardian, which is the police. The latter theory, on the other hand, studies the norms of the people in a neighborhood that create an environment for crimes.

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