Essay about Digital Crime Theories

Submitted By Melissa-Allison
Words: 1105
Pages: 5

Digital Crime Theories
David E. Taylor
Strayer University
CIS 170
Professor Chad Cox
May 24th, 2015

Digital Crime Theories For the past one hundred years, researchers have come up with many theories regarding crime, as well as the reasons individuals commit crime. In the past several years, more and more researchers are trying to apply the same concepts from the theories to digital crime (Taylor, Fritsch & Liederbach, 2015). The researchers are trying to determine exactly why certain individuals commit crime, while others do not. Although the theories being discussed have been developed to explain crime in general, many also coincide with digital crime (Taylor, et. al, 2015). Each person has their own belief as to why people do what they do, and afterwards, you will be able to thoroughly understand the theories being discussed. To begin, as previously mentioned, there are multiple theories regarding crime. The first has been deemed the choice theory. The concept states that each individual commits a crime because he or she makes a rational choice to do so (Taylor, et. al., 2015). The individual weighs the risks and benefits to committing the crime, and if the risks outweigh the benefits, then the crime will not be committed. On the other hand, if the opposite is true, and the individual thinks the benefits outweighs the risks, then he or she will commit the crime (Taylor, et. al, 2015). Many researchers find this foundation appealing. Each person is responsible for their behavior. No one forces a person to do something he or she does not want to do. With the popularity behind this theory came focus on the offense, not the offender (Taylor, et. al, 2015). The idea behind it all is the way to control crime, which includes digital crime, is for offenders to fear the punishment they will receive from committing a crime, and therefore, will be deterred from committing the crime in the first place. The choice theory can very easily explain digital crime as well. A person who is committing digital crime is just like any other person committing a crime. He or she is making a rational decision to act against the law. An example of the choice theory would be an individual committing identity theft by stealing personal information online. If, by some unlikely chance, this person were to receive this information accidentally, he or she should discard the information or turn it over to the local authorities. However, instead of doing so, this citizen chooses to take the information and create a fake identity for him or herself. By choosing to doing so, the person is breaking the law and committing digital crime. Furthermore, the second type of theory regarding crime is the deterrence theory. It evolves directly from the choice theory previously mentioned. The deterrence theory states the offender would be deterred from committing a crime if the threat of punishment is just severe enough to overcome the gain one would receive from the act (Vito, Maahs, & Holmes, 2005). The purpose of punishment is to deter an individual from committing a crime again or to deter others from committing a crime. It is not for revenge (Vito, et. al., 2005). In fact, there are two different subtypes of the deterrence theory. The first is general deterrence. It basically depends on the offender’s fear of the punishment. A potential offender must find the pain he or she could possibly suffer is far worse than the benefits they would receive from the act (Vito, et. al., 2005). The second is specific deterrence. This method focuses on the individual offender, which means trying to convince him or her not to repeat the criminal act (Vito, et. al., 2005). In addition, a person may choose to commit a digital crime due to the simple fact they do not not believe they will ever be caught. The individual is hiding behind the screen, per se. The deterrence theory is in relation to the punishment. When criminals are caught committing