Essay on economic model of crime

Words: 1793
Pages: 8

Consider major government policies and events since the last general election and evaluate their likely impact on crime. Base your arguments on the economic model of crime.

In this essay I will examine how government polices since the last general election have impacted crime levels. The economic model of crime pioneered by Gary S. Becker in 1968 describes how criminals weigh up the costs and benefits of criminal activity against the legal alternatives. The model has four main aspects in it, which are: the utility derived from legal work (U (W)), the likelihood of getting caught when engaging in criminal activity (p), utility from successful crime (U(W ͨ )) and the disutility from punishment when getting caught (U(S))

U (W) <
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The government are also trying to restrict the supply of illegal drugs by classifying and controlling drugs, this includes the recent classifying of some supposed ‘legal highs’ such as methoxetamine, a supposedly safe substitute for ketamine. This can be linked to Becker’s model of crime, as with more substances becoming classified the likelihood of someone getting caught when engaging in the taking or supplying of drugs increases. The utility from successfully taking an illegal drug may also decrease when people learn more about the short and long term negative health effects from drugs or supposedly safe ‘legal highs’. This means that if drug use and supply can be effectively combated by government policies at least two parts of Becker’s model will be affected and the number of crimes committed would almost certainly decrease.

Current statistics show that 73% of young people released from custody reoffend within a year; this led to the government to introduce a policy to aim to reduce the number of young people, those between the ages of 10-17, reoffending. The government plan to reduce youth crime by treating a young person’s time in custody as education with detention as opposed to the other way round as this is more likely to increase the chances that the young