The Causes of Crime and the Practical Limits of Crime Control

Speaker: Jeff Brantingham

Date: Wed, Sep 19, 2012

Location: IRMACS Center, Simon Fraser University

Conference: Hot Topics in Computational Criminology

Subject: Social Sciences, Applied Mathematics

Class: Scientific, Applied


Within criminology there continues to be wide disagreement over the importance the individual, formal and informal social structure and the environment in driving crime patterns. In person-based theories, individuals are assumed to either innately possess the capacity to commit crime, or learn such capacities from their interactions with others. In structural theories, it is generally assumed that individuals are constrained by static social, economic or political organization, which makes crime a necessary or acceptable alternative to non-crime activities. In environmental theories, the built environment creates abundant, if unevenly distributed opportunities for crime that are easily exploited. While each of these theoretical perspectives finds some justification in empirical studies, they are not equal practical from the point of view of crime control. This talk will review several key ideas underlying crime and crime pattern formation and argue in favor of modeling of short-term, local crime processes because it is these processes that are most easily disrupted and are likely to yield practical results.