Link to What's New This Week CRMJ/SOCA 233: Criminology

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Criminology Preparations

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Created: June 22, 2003
Latest Update: October 23, 2003

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Site Teaching Modules CRMJ/SOCA 233 Criminology:
Week 10 Target/Victim Theories
You will be held accountable for purposes of grading for the readings and exercises listed here. There will be no "testing." That means that you will not have to live in anxious anticipation of what we will ask and how much you will have to know. Instead, we will provide weekly discussion questions, lectures, essays, and concepts we feel that you should know as a result of having taken this course. You will assure us of that learning and receive your grade for the questions and concepts about which you choose to write and talk with us. In addition, you will find detailed explanations and examples on our grading policies in the first week's reading.

* * * * *

Week 10: Week of November 2, 2003

  • Topic:Target/Victim Theories

  • Preparatory Readings:
    • Williams and McShane. Criminology Theory. chapter by Cohen & Felson
    • Pollock. Criminal Women. ch. 7
    • Handouts:

      --- Rational Choice

      --- Victimization and the Victims Industry

      --- Criminal Victimization 2000

    • optional -- Adler. Criminology.ch. 9

  • Lecture: in class

  • Concepts:

    • environmental criminology
    • direct contact predatory violations
    • everyday life
    • routine activities
    • rational choice
    • victimization
    • hot spots
    • geography of crime
    • situational factors

  • Discussion Questions:

    1. According to routine activities theory, what three elements are needed for a crime to occur? Provide an example to illustrate each element.

    2. What is the major underlying assumption of the rational choice perspective?

    3. Joel Best's article opens with "victimization has become fashionable." Why does he say this?

    4. Which of the two theories -- rational choice or routine activities -- best explains gang related crimes? Why. What are the implications for "theory, policy, practice"?

    5. What do rational choice theorists have to contribute to the ongoing "war" against terrorism? Is terrorism rational? In what ways? What counterterrorist strategies can you think of that would be effective against terrorism committed against targets in the United States? [from Adler, 2004: 234]

  • Past Lectures and Related Links:

      Theory Resources Page

      Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics

  • Some Recommended Activities:

    1. Show and Tell: Bring in a current event or find a program (other than those mentioned in the readings or lectures) showing how the environmental criminology theories inform policy.

    2. Explore one of these topics:
      --- Trace the victims' rights movement.
      --- Examine both successful and not-so-successful crime prevention programs. What is the criteria for program success? Why.
      --- Examine college campus crime. Which environmental criminology theory -- routine activities or rational choice -- best applies? Why.

      A Creative Project with CSUDH students! Check out Visual Essays Project. If interested, let me know.

    3. Recommended Readings

      Paul J. Brantingham and Patricia L. Bratingham. Environmental Criminology.

      Derek Cornish and Ronald V. Clarke. The Reasoning Criminal: Rational Choice Perspective on Offending.

      Marcus Felson. Crime and Everyday Life: Insights and Implications for Society.

      C. Ray Jeffery. Crime Prevention through Environmental Design.




    Now, check the Minimum Requirements for Criminology, Week 9 and 10.



    Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, June 2003.
    "Fair use" encouraged.