There is no doubt that crime is strangely attractive to some people. With crime comes rewards, prestige, excitement as well as many other desirable factors that come from little time and effort on the part of the criminal. Regardless of the type of crime, some people simply cannot resist the allure. For many, crime has a way of producing positive sensations and natural highs for people that are essential for both reinforcing and maintaining criminal acts. Many criminals offer a description of such an adrenaline rush that stems out of being successful in executing criminal activities involving dangerous experiences. Described as “edgework”, this is the momentary integration and exhilaration that comes along with the risk, skill, and danger that motivates people to engage in various dangerous activities that may or may not be criminal depending upon the situation. Crime is by no means just a random act but rather is a means of providing assistance to personal issues along with pleasure (Siegel, 2006).
If crime is truly rational and intentional behavior, than crime should also be able to be eradicated or at least controlled to some degree by convincing present and future criminals that criminal behavior is not a smart choice to make and that rather than bringing them pleasure and rewards, it will bring them only deprivation, pain, and hardship. Criminal acts can further be avoided by securely protecting potential victims, by controlling the means in order to act criminally and by carefully monitoring present and potential offenders. While desperate individuals might think about committing a crime, only mentally ill or irrational people would attempt to attack an inaccessible and well-protected target while knowingly risking harsh punishment. Other ways to prevent crime is to design and build structures that maximize surveillance incorporating things such as well-lit buildings and homes, security systems, and deadbolts. It would also help prevent crime that occurred during the night-time if streets have better lighting and neighborhood watch programs (Siegel, 2006).
Another effective way to reduce crime is to increase the amount of effort needed to commit crimes. Various methods could include unbreakable glass for businesses, locked gates, fenced in yards, photo id credit cards, steering locks on vehicles, and even pay first policies at gas stations. The text also mentioned breath analysis ignitions to prevent drunk driving. Some communities also implement curfews; however, this has not been universally successful as it takes away from our freedom to go out whenever we please. It is also imperative to reduce the awards related to criminal activity such as removable car stereos, gender neutral phone listings, and tracking systems. Obviously increasing the risk of committing crimes is important as well. Security guards are an excellent way to increase risk (Siegel, 2006).
I also believe that increasing guilt of criminals could also prove to be a valuable method. Listing the names of those who have been arrested can make criminals feel ashamed. In my local newspaper there is always a list of names of those who have been arrested for various things. This listing includes the crime committed and the charge attached to that crime. I certainly would be less likely to commit a crime if I knew that everyone in my town and surrounding towns would know about it. I also think that it is important to increase the certainty and severity of punishment or jail time. Increasing police activity could also serve to deter crime. There are so many ways to reduce crime rates that ultimately we need to step it up and strengthen our strategies. I couldn’t believe how many great suggestions the text book offered toward reducing and eliminating criminal behavior (Siegel, 2006).
Siegel, L. (2006). Criminology. 9th ed. Thomson Wadsworth: Belmont, CA.