The ability to control crime is dependent upon understanding the mechanisms that make crime and criminality common. 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 an 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 perspectives find some justification in empirical studies, they are not equally 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.
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