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Explaining perceived deterrence
Prof. dr. Lieven J.R. Pauwels
Ghent University
Introduction
• Deterrence: classicism and free will hypothesis
• Offender act as if they were rational <->
positivism
• So...
Introduction
• Rising crime rates from the 1960s to the 1980s stimulated
researchers who were interested in crime control ...
Introduction
• The renewed focus on deterrence as the use of threats of sanctions
to control offending derives from the ut...
Introduction
• While most studies have examined the effect of
perceived deterrence as a causal mechanism in
explaining ind...
Theoretical backdrop
• Competing theoretical models
• Using variables from existing theories of
offending is necessary to ...
Hypotheses
• Hypothesis 1: informal controls are only related
to perceived deterrence as far as offending
tolerance, low s...
Hypotheses
• Hypothesis 4: The social environment of adolescents,
as measured by their level of peer delinquency has an
in...
Schoolbond
Parental
control
Offending
tolerance
Peer
delinquency
Perceived
deterrence
Low self-
control
-
+
-
-
+
+
-
-
+
...
Table 1: Background characteristics of respondents
Background characteristics Procent (N)
Sex
Girl
Boy
42.9 (520)
57.1 (69...
Table 2: Block wise regression models
Independent
variables
Model 1
Beta
Model 2
Beta
Model 3
Beta
Model 4
Beta
Parental
c...
Table 3: Path coefficients of direct effects
SCHLBND = 0.41*PCONTR, Errorvar.= 0.84 , R² = 0.16
(0.028) (0.036)
14.48 23.1...
Schoolbond
Parental
control
Offending
tolerance
Peer
delinquency
Perceived
deterrence
Low self-
control
Final Empirical Mo...
Discussion and conclusion
• Indirect effects of informal controls
• But: direct effect of parental control
• Low self-cont...
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Explaining deterrence Lieven Pauwels Presentatie VVC

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Explaining deterrence Lieven Pauwels Presentatie VVC

  1. 1. Explaining perceived deterrence Prof. dr. Lieven J.R. Pauwels Ghent University
  2. 2. Introduction • Deterrence: classicism and free will hypothesis • Offender act as if they were rational <-> positivism • Sociological determinism in the explanation of offending has dominated theories of offending and theories criminal policy and crime prevention in the first half of the twentieth century (Gottfredson and Hirschi 1990). 2 Perceived deterrence 3de criminologisch forum 11 febr 2011 VUB Brussel
  3. 3. Introduction • Rising crime rates from the 1960s to the 1980s stimulated researchers who were interested in crime control to redirect their attention from searching for the individual level “causes” of offending to examining instead the utility of deterrence in controlling crime (Maxwell 1997), • to examining the role of daily routines in shaping trends in crime (Cohen and Felson, 1979) • and to examining how crime can be prevented through situational designs that that discourage potential offenders from committing acts of crime (Jefferson, 1972). 3 Perceived deterrence 3de criminologisch forum 11 febr 2011 VUB Brussel
  4. 4. Introduction • The renewed focus on deterrence as the use of threats of sanctions to control offending derives from the utilitarian philosophy of the Classical School of Criminology and underlies deterrence theory. • The Classical School views human beings as rational individuals who efficiently weigh the costs and benefits of their actions in attaining desired goals (Gottfredson and Hirschi 1990). • It posits that “actions are taken and decisions are made by persons in the rational exercise of free will” (Akers 1994). Deterrence theory was thus a derivative of the Classical School, and it postulates that individuals choose to obey or violate the law by making rational calculations about the potential costs and benefits of such acts (Bridges and Stone 1986). 4 Perceived deterrence 3de criminologisch forum 11 febr 2011 VUB Brussel
  5. 5. Introduction • While most studies have examined the effect of perceived deterrence as a causal mechanism in explaining individual differences in offending, it is surprising to see how few studies have examined perceived deterrence as a dependent variable. • The questions becomes then: what causes people to perceive deterrence? Theories on causes of offending are rather silent about that matter, with the exception of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s self-control theory. Perceived deterrence would from that point of view be merely seen as a consequence of low self-control. 5 Perceived deterrence 3de criminologisch forum 11 febr 2011 VUB Brussel
  6. 6. Theoretical backdrop • Competing theoretical models • Using variables from existing theories of offending is necessary to gain insight in possible mediating effects of causes of offending • Theoretically relevant variables: informal controls, morality, low self-control and peers affect offending, but do they affect perceived deterrence? • Is deterrence situationally defined rather then defiend by individual traits? Understudied domain 6 Perceived deterrence 3de criminologisch forum 11 febr 2011 VUB Brussel
  7. 7. Hypotheses • Hypothesis 1: informal controls are only related to perceived deterrence as far as offending tolerance, low self-control and peer delinquency are not involved into the equation. • Hypothesis 2: offending tolerance mediates the effects of informal controls and has a strong direct effect on perceived deterrence. • Hypothesis 3: low self-control fully mediates the effects of informal controls and offending tolerance in the explanation of perceived deterrence. 7 Perceived deterrence 3de criminologisch forum 11 febr 2011 VUB Brussel
  8. 8. Hypotheses • Hypothesis 4: The social environment of adolescents, as measured by their level of peer delinquency has an independent effect on perceived deterrence, independent of informal controls, offending tolerance and low self-control. • Hypothesis 5: Informal controls have indirect effects through offending tolerance, peer delinquency and low self-control, while low self-control and peer delinquency both have direct effects on perceived deterrence. The theoretical model that is tested is presented in figure 1. All arrows represent direct effects. 8 Perceived deterrence 3de criminologisch forum 11 febr 2011 VUB Brussel
  9. 9. Schoolbond Parental control Offending tolerance Peer delinquency Perceived deterrence Low self- control - + - - + + - - + - Theoretical Model - - 9 Perceived deterrence 3de criminologisch forum 11 febr 2011 VUB Brussel
  10. 10. Table 1: Background characteristics of respondents Background characteristics Procent (N) Sex Girl Boy 42.9 (520) 57.1 (692) Educational tracking Academic tracking Vocational tracking 83.7 (1024) 14.3 (175) Age 12-13 14-16 41.1(495) 58.9 (708) Immigrant background Both parents Belgian background At least one parent immigrant background 82.0 (995) 18.0 (218) Family structure Living with both parents Living with only one parent / caretaker 71.2 (869) 28.8 (352) 10 Perceived deterrence 3de criminologisch forum 11 febr 2011 VUB Brussel
  11. 11. Table 2: Block wise regression models Independent variables Model 1 Beta Model 2 Beta Model 3 Beta Model 4 Beta Parental control 0.230*** 0.190*** 0.173*** .149*** School social bond 0.115*** 0.069* 0.058 ns 0.049ns Offending tolerance -0.126*** -0.057ns -0.022ns Low self- control -0.124*** -0.112*** Peer delinquency -0.111*** R-square 0.087 0.098 0.103 0.110 ***= p < 0.001 * = p < 0.05 ns = non significant 11 Perceived deterrence 3de criminologisch forum 11 febr 2011 VUB Brussel
  12. 12. Table 3: Path coefficients of direct effects SCHLBND = 0.41*PCONTR, Errorvar.= 0.84 , R² = 0.16 (0.028) (0.036) 14.48 23.12 OFFTOL = - 0.29*SCHLBND - 0.31*PCONTR, Errorvar.= 0.74 , R² = 0.26 (0.029) (0.029) (0.032) -10.18 -10.88 23.12 LOWSC = - 0.22*SCHLBND + 0.51*OFFTOL - 0.16*PCONTR, Errorvar.= 0.48 , R² = 0.52 (0.024) (0.025) (0.024) (0.021) -8.98 20.52 -6.51 23.12 DELFRND = - 0.078*SCHLBND + 0.11*OFFTOL + 0.31*LOWSC - 0.21*PCONTR, Errorvar.= 0.67 , R² = 0.33 (0.030) (0.034) (0.036) (0.029) (0.029) -2.61 3.14 8.72 -7.08 23.12 PDETER = - 0.10*LOWSC - 0.13*DELFRND + 0.17*PCONTR, Errorvar.= 0.89 , R² = 0.11 (0.036) (0.035) (0.034) (0.039) -2.86 -3.61 5.14 23.12 Note: The results show standardized effects, standard errors (between brackets) and t- values. 12 Perceived deterrence 3de criminologisch forum 11 febr 2011 VUB Brussel
  13. 13. Schoolbond Parental control Offending tolerance Peer delinquency Perceived deterrence Low self- control Final Empirical Model Chi-Square = 10.77 df = 2 RMSEA = 0.06 AGFI = 0.96 + - + + + - - - - - - - 13 Perceived deterrence 3de criminologisch forum 11 febr 2011 VUB Brussel
  14. 14. Discussion and conclusion • Indirect effects of informal controls • But: direct effect of parental control • Low self-control as key mechanism in explaining perceived deterrence?? Not exclusively!! • R square is low! • New directions of studies of perceived deterrence? (Environmental cues?) ML studies of environmental cues • If deterrence is only partially to be explained by individual level mechanisms: what do we need to consider? • How general is this pattern? 14 Perceived deterrence 3de criminologisch forum 11 febr 2011 VUB Brussel

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