Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Planners, architects, and criminologists are collaborating to prevent crime though the appropriate design of neighborhoods and buildings. The built environment often inadvertently offers opportunities for criminal behavior. Many of these opportunities can be “designed out.” The rational choice perspective on crime treats the criminal as a rational being who chooses whether to commit a crime. Economists were major contributors to the development of this concept. Behavior is assumed to be rational, and choices are made based on an individual's perception of opportunities, costs, and benefits. Factors encouraging criminal activity include the ease of carrying out the crime, the chances of detection, the presence of an escape route, and the absence of witnesses. The rational offender perspective states that crimes are most likely to occur when a potential offender, faced with a crime target, believes that the chances of detection, identification, and apprehension are low. Situational crime prevention focuses on removing ...