Classical deterrence theory revisited: an empirical analysis of Police Force Areas in England and Wales

Abramovaite, Juste, Bandyopadhyay, Siddhartha, Bhattacharya, Samrat and Cowen, Nick (2022) Classical deterrence theory revisited: an empirical analysis of Police Force Areas in England and Wales. European Journal of Criminology . ISSN 1477-3708

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F14773708211072415

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Classical deterrence theory revisited: an empirical analysis of Police Force Areas in England and Wales
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Item Type:Article
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Abstract

The severity, certainty and celerity (swiftness) of punishment are theorised to influence offending through deterrence. Yet celerity is only occasionally included in empirical studies of criminal activity and the three deterrence factors have rarely been analysed in one empirical model. We address this gap with an analysis using unique panel data of recorded theft, burglary and violence against the person for 41 Police Force Areas in England and Wales using variables that capture these three theorised factors of deterrence. Police detection reduces subsequent burglary and theft but not violence while severity appears to reduce burglary but not theft or violent crime. We find that variation in the celerity of sanction has a significant impact on theft offences but not on burglary or violence offences. Increased detection (certainty) is associated with reduced theft and burglary but not violence. Increased average prison sentences reduce burglary only. We account for these results in terms of data challenges and the likely different motivations underlying violent and acquisitive crime.

Keywords:deterrence, Criminal justice, Law courts, police practice, sentencing policy, Sentencing
Subjects:L Social studies > L310 Applied Sociology
L Social studies > L140 Econometrics
L Social studies > L410 UK Social Policy
L Social studies > L120 Microeconomics
M Law > M211 Criminal Law
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:47355
Deposited On:16 Dec 2021 10:51

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