Personal Understanding of Crime Commission

Objective The assessment task is designed to get you to state your current knowledge of how someone might go about planning and carrying out a crime for financial gain. You should think of this as your baseling knowledge of the course material.

Task To outline what someone would do in the following situation
Due to circumstances that are not pertinent, a person owes a local loanshark  4000. As previous payment deadlines have not been met, the loanshark gave the person 48 hours to provide this sum or else.

Course of Action When the Person Has No Disposable Assets
Jose is a guy, about 21 to 30 years of age, of Spanish-Mexican descent. He is Catholic, and a member of a minority group in a largely white-populated neighborhood. He switches jobs monthly, often taking multiple jobs at a time. He is also the breadwinner of his extended family. He earns about  5 an hour or equivalently, 40 a day. He has no previous criminal records. Currently, he is working in a grocery store as cashier. His employer is a migrant Korean (who married an American woman).

Apparently, this person has no disposable assets which could be used to pay his loan. Most of his friends are poor. His Korean employer is a person who refuses to spend for anything other than personal gratification. Jose has no choice but to acquire money illegally.

He knows that the average revenue of the grocery store is about  4500. He also knows that no live video is installed in the store. His boss only comes once a week to check current sales and supplies. Signal devices are also not installed in the store. With these facts in mind, Jose hires a young African-American to rob the store (maybe an old time friend). The robber will shoot Jose in the left arm, as proof of robbery. Jose takes the money before the robbery and pays the robber  500. Jose is hospitalized at the cost of his employer and is able to pay his standing debt. Note that in order for this course of action to be successful, the robbery should be realistic (shooting of the arm). The robber must also be an intimate friend of Jose.

The Person Cannot Borrow Money from His Immediate Family or Financial Institution
Jose can also borrow money from other loansharks in the neighborhood. This is though not a good option because it will increase Joses standing debts. The feasible option is to rob his employer. After his shift, he will enter the store in disguise and ask the cashier to empty the cashbox. Note that the store has no signal devices (making it difficult for the cashier to inform the authorities about the current robbery. In order for this course of action to be feasible, the disguise must totally enclose the identity of the robber. No people should be present inside the store during the robbery (they may serve as witnesses of the robbery.

The Person is Well-Integrated in a Community and does have the Ability to do a Runner.
Jose decides to rob a small convenience store in another neighborhood. He cannot rob a store in his own neighborhood because people will immediately know the culprit. As a Catholic, he is forbidden to do sinful acts against fellow Catholics (and Latinos). Jose decides to rob a store in the African-American neighborhood. The first 24 hours will be spent studying convenience stores with the minimal security. After choosing the target store, Jose moves in and demands cash from the cashier. He points a borrowed gun in the face of the cashier. Driven by fear, the cashier follows every request of the robber. In order for this course of action to be successful, the robber must not come from the immediate neighborhood where the crime is to be committed. And, second, the target store must have minimal security.

Opportunity plays a big role in an individual committing a crime. If a criminal increases the chance of being caught, then the opportunity is lower and it is less likely that the criminal will commit the crime. In all three cases, there are a number of opportunities that the criminal can use to commit the crime. In the first case, the relative laxity of the employer allowed Jose to manipulate the robbery scene (this is reinforced by the stores lack of security devices. In the second case, the absence of signal devices allowed Jose to rob the store without much difficulty (this is reinforced by the absence of witnesses in the area). In the third case, Jose was able to mask his identity by robbing a store located in another ethnic neighborhood.

Allowing these three components of the routine activity theory to be present in an event increases the opportunity for the criminal and is more favorable for him. However, decreasing the favorability of the one or more of the components decreases the encouragement for the individual since the risk of getting caught increases. In all cases, the degree of favorability never changed. Jose had to make sure that he would not be caught (this would negate the purpose of his actions). This allowed Jose to maximize the opportunities presented.

Opportunity presented itself, when the individual took the wallet. As suggested, there was no criminal intention for the crime but the situation was favorable for the individual and he took advantage for it. Thus, if not for the scenario, it would be unlikely that the individual will steal a wallet. Jose had the intention to commit crime because he needed money to pay his standing debt to a loanshark. What Jose needed was to locate opportunities to commit crime (robbery). When the opportunities presented itself, Jose had to take them.

Crime pattern theory provides investigators with a tool to determine criminal acts based on behavioral patterns. They can determine where crimes are likely to be committed and can effectively increase police visibility to prevent crime. Further, the theory can be based on social patterns being taken as an opportunity for criminals to decrease the risk of being caught.


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