Criminal Opportunity Theory and the relationship Between Poverty and Property Crime.

Criminal opportunity theory suggests that community economic deprivation has two countervailing effects on property crime: it causes strain and disorganization which may encourage some individuals to offend, but it also simultaneously lessens opportunities to engage in property crime by reducing the supply of worthwhile targets in an area. The present study examines the relationship between economic deprivation and rates of burglary and motor vehicle theft for census tracts in two large American cities (Austin and Seattle). Regression analyses support the opportunity saturation hypothesis derived from criminal opportunity theory. This hypothesis suggests that the relationship between levels of deprivation and property crime is curvilinear where the positive effect of deprivation on property crime is stronger at low levels of neighborhood poverty than it is at high levels. Research and policy implications are discussed.

Main Author: Hannon, Lance.
Format: Villanova Faculty Authorship
Language: English
Published: 2001
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