Throughout discussing what each of those theories are and

Throughout this paper I
will be discussing why Rational Choice Theory and Social Disorganization
explain robbery. I will explain how Trait Theory and Strain Theory does not
explain robbery. Also, I will be discussing what each of those theories are and
how they view robbery. I will demonstrate how criminologist in those fields
view that crime and how the others cannot explain this crime.

            Robbery concern to the crime of taking or attempting to obtain
anything of worth that does not lawfully belong to the individual through force
or by making threats. Robbery occurs in different types; armed robbery described
by using weapons, home invasion robbery which happens in neighborhoods, piracy
which is overseas, carjacking, highway robbery and extortion where victims have
consequences for not meeting the demands imposed by the offender (Allen, 2015).

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In 2016, it was reported by the Department of Justice on the Crime
Victimization report that 54% of robberies committed were reported (Criminal
Victimization, 2016). There could have occurred more robberies then police know
about because 46% that were not reported. Robberies is one of the most common
crime that occurs on a daily basis.

            Rational Trait Theory involves careful thought and
planning considering personal and situational factors. Robbery can be explained
by this theory because it must be well thought out and planned, also individuals
gains from doing this crime. He decided to commit this robbery because he may
have needed the money or for the thrill and excitement. “Criminologists long
have argued that the selection of predatory robbery targets is guided by
rational choice. Offenders weigh the costs and benefits of contemplated conduct
and proceed when the latter exceed the former” (Jacobs,2010). In other words,
crime is avoided when risks of being caught or receiving a tough punishment
outweigh the rewards such as value of item, sexual gratification or peer
respect. Many of the individuals who decided to commit robbery for instance
have personal factors (need and ability) such as financial need or like it for
thrill and excitement that this crime might “give” them. Depending on the
situational factors (opportunity) such as target availability, security
measures, and police presence are all considered by an individual before
committing a robbery. This individual made the choice to commit the crime and
he knew the consequences of committing the robbery. In Baltimore, there are
teenage groups who are robbing people and stealing their belongings. Some steal
victim’s cars to use them for robberies among other crimes. Through Rational
Choice Theory these teenagers might live in poor communities or as stated in
the Baltimore Sun “to blow off steam in a world where they are routinely
traumatized, poorly educated, disrespected and given few outlets to expend
their energy and frustration in constructive ways” (Rector, 2016). These
individuals are committing crimes because they choose to due to personal
factors or for the thrill and excitement. They might want to excel to be the
“same” as others although they know the risk but still choose to commit
robberies to be able to accomplish that.

            Social Disorganization can also explain robbery because
these individuals might not have the financial stability and mostly they do
this crime to help them move on or away from their current situation. Social
Disorganization deals with a break down in social control and how many changes
on a community can affect every individual. Merton a very well know theorist
said, “crime is a result of individuals being more interested in achieving the
social goal – wealth, than in respecting the laws” (Merton, 1938). Furthermore,
it involves community disorder1, community fear2, siege mentality3, community change4 which leads them to
distrust the institutions in place to help them (police, health care, among
others).  Through this theory it explains
an individual’s motive to commit robbery and among other crimes. Because they of
their current situation which leads them to commit crime such as robbery to
move on or be financial stable. Poverty makes them want to better themselves
and their families to help them move out of those communities or to become
financially stable. Criminologists view the case of those teenagers as they
were growing up in poor communities and or struggling to make ends meet. Those same
individual’s committed robberies because it is all they know to get by and make
ends meet. Other individuals might want to commit robberies to be able to
afford their wants such as: new sneakers, electronics, and new phone models.

Through the breakdown of social control in which leads many teenagers to crime
because it is everything they learned and gives them hope for financial
stability. Many teenagers are trying to fit in with the crowds to push ahead.

            Trait Theory is the view that criminality is a product of
abnormal human traits. It studies how a criminal’s genetics lead them to become
a criminal and also studies their childhood. Genetics and crime is the biology
inherited from your family such as traits or behaviors. Supporters for this
theory say antisocial behavior is 50-85% inheritable (Siegel,2016). Although
the percentage is high Adoption studies have discovered that children with
criminal parents who were adopted and had no contact with them still developed
criminal behavior even when the adopted family were not criminals (Siegel, 2015).

However, most of the children who inherited these traits or behaviors did not
become criminals. This theory focuses on the genetics and the child’s
background of their parents. There is no information on how this theory can explain
robbery. For example, if an individual’s parents were criminals, had a drug or
alcohol abuse problem that does not mean their children would be the same
although they are highly likely to acquire but it is not concrete.

             A subset of this
theory is Biological Trait Theory referring to biochemical conditions and crime
in which are both natural and diet/environmental. The main argument is that it
is indirectly responsible for crime. A crime that could not be explain by this
theory would be robbery because the theory itself focuses on an individual’s
biological conditions or what natural and diet/environmental issues they may
have been exposed to. This theory focuses on the biological traits of an
individual and how they developed it. Individuals may snap which can cause them
to commit a crime but they did not necessarily develop those traits. Moreover,
individuals with hypoglycemia, DMS, or environmental contaminants in most cases
do not commit any crimes such as robbery or among others. In addition, this
theory also depends on social environment influences behavior in which both
combined can lead to crime or conformity as seen in Figure 1. This shows why
this theory alone is unable to explain robbery.

             Strain Theory is
one criminology theory that cannot explain robbery and why individuals commit
it. Criminologists who believe in this theory believe that people commit crimes
as a direct result of stress, strain, anger, or frustration that they may have.

Agnew, a strain theorist describes crime as “a result of negative emotions
resulting from negative relationships with individuals” (Agnew,1992). There
are multiple sources to this strain; in which involves failure to achieve
positively valued goals, disjunction of expectations or achievements, removal
of positively valued stimuli, and or presentation of negative stimuli. Although
these sources of strain are independent of one another, they may overlap. Even
though it can explain why the lower class would commit robbery. However, it
fails to explain why the middle class and the wealthy class would commit
robbery since they are financially stable enough to survive. Many people have
strain but do not become criminals. This theory is a subset of the Social
Structure Theory which focuses its attention to the lower class because that is
where most of the crime occurs. It does not focus or study why a middle class
or wealthy class would decide to go and commit a robbery. They are already in
good standing financially and can have the means to accomplish their goals.

Without studying the reason why, they decided to commit a robbery we cannot
understand their motivation to do it. Some criminals commit robbery but they
are not stress nor frustrated just did it for the thrill and excitement that
they must have felt. Through this theory criminologist cannot explain why that
individual had the gratification of committing that crime but receiving nothing
in return or gaining anything.

            In conclusion through this paper I
have thoroughly explained how Rational Choice Theory and Social Disorganization
are and how they are used by criminologist to understand why an individual
would commit a robbery. In addition, I discussed why Trait Theory and Strain Theory
does not explain robbery and the background on what they focus on. I have
learned how criminologist look at crimes and apply their belief to explain robbery.

1  Community
Disorder- the economy is not well (not enough jobs), education is not up to par
compared to other communities

2 Community Fear- illegal activities
makes people afraid of being approach by others, leaving their homes, and fear
for their children’s safety.

3 Siege Mentality- Since there are
high levels of crime and civil disorder people become suspicious and start to
mistrust everyone including the institutions in place to help them.

4 Community Change- neighborhood
deterioration precedes increasing rates of crime and delinquency (is never the
same)