Routine Activity Theory is a sub-field of rational choice and criminology, developed by Marcus Felson and Lawrence E Cohen


IF a target is not protected enough or presents an opportunity for a crime to be committed the crime will take-place by someone that possibly has never committed a crime.

The crimes that are considered to be crimes that are committed by regular people are: copyright, infringement, related to peer-to-peer file sharing, employee theft and corporate crime.

For a crime to be committed three aspects are needed: Motivated Offender, A Suitable Target, The Lack Of a Capable Guardian.

Routine Activity Theory is a logically consistent theory. When Cohen and Felson proposed the theory they clearly defined the concepts used, and the propositions they wished to express.

Motivated offender is one of the three elements and is the only element that is some what broad. They clearly define each element and the removal of one element would mean a crime wouldn·t occur.

The explanation of the theory is very clear, concise and un-complex. The basic premise of the three elements need to occur. They define the theory in as few words as possible.


Although the theory is defined very the theory is defined very clearly it can be implied that it is a theory that blames victims for crimes committed against them (Akers, 2004:87).


Cohen and Felson·s theory implies that people allow themselves to become targets because of their choices of routine activities (Akers, 2004:87). The use of Routine Activities Theory to so many different applications and studies makes it obvious that it is testable.


Culp and Braco found that the results support Routine Activities Theory. They found that escapes will take place in the secure prison the motivated offender is the inmate the target is aided by leaving items such as tools and unsecured, and lack of the guardian occurs when staff are too lax in the procedures(Culp, 2005: 27)


There is confusion about how a motivated offender is a person who is predisposed to commit a crime, or any person who is just at the right place at the right time and seizes the opportunity.

When Cohen and Felson defined the theory they defined it with clarity and expressed that in order for a crime to occur that three elements mentioned in an earlier slide had to be present and those three elements had to converge in in space and time through routine activities.

In conclusion Routine Activity Theory is based on the assumption that crime can be committed by anyone that has the opportunity. The theory also states that victims are given choices on weather to be victims mainly not placing themselves in situations where crime can be committed against them.


Marcus Felson, Crime and Everyday Life . Insight and implications for society, Thousands Oaks: Pine Forge Press, 1994 Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson Social Change and Crime Trends: A Routine Activity Approach American Sociological Review, 44 (4), 1979, pp. 588-608 Ronald V Clarke and Marcus Felson ., 1993 Introduction: Criminology, Routine Activity and Rational Choice, Advances in Theoretical Criminology: Routine Activity and Rational Choice, Vol. 5 pp. 1-14



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