Rational Choice Theory

Rational Choice Theory

Question 1

A majority of crimes are not spontaneous but occur as a result of careful planning and thoughtfulness. Crime is defined by Siegel (100) as a function of a rational decision-making process. It is therefore a rational action, one that is planned and designed to avoid detection and punishment while maximizing gain. In order to participate in law breaking, the decision to violate or commit a crime follows careful weighing of the consequences and the benefits of planned action from an offender. Where the benefits are deemed greater than the consequences, an offender proceeds to commit the crime. Therefore, even relatively less violent crimes such as drug abuse follow the same thought pattern (Siegel 100). The motivation to commit a crime may come from a variety of traits or emotions including thrill seeking, greed, anger, need, lust, revenge, or jealousy. In the end, committing a crime is as a result of a rational action and choice where offenders perceive the rewards of an action to outweigh the risks involved.

Criminals intentionally, and through a rational process, choose crime. Except for a mentally ill individual, offenders behave in predictable and rational ways when making the choice to commit a crime (Siegel 101). The rationality of a crime in the choice theory comes engaging in a cost-benefit analysis beforehand. What is expected to be of benefit to them is weighed against the consequences and risks. The rational choice theory, therefore, provides an explanation to why people behave the way they do. In criminal behavior, the rational choice theory explains that people have self-interests and are willing to violate laws after a consideration of personal and situational factors (Siegel 102). Personal factors include money, profits, entertainment, and thrills while situational factors include the availability of a target, police presence, and security measures. Therefore, the rational choice theory is a guide into how criminals make a decision and what motivates them to do so. It shows that offenders usually make a rational choice between violating the law or the opposite based on the benefits that either of the choices presents weighed against the risks and consequences.

Works Cited

Siegel, L. “Criminology: The core: Cengage learning.” (2019).