Perceptions of physical, psychological, social and legal deterrents to joyriding
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This study examines factors that encourage or discourage joyriding from three different but compatible perspectives: deterrence theory, situational prevention and neutralisation theory. Participants were 228 high school students from grades 10, 11 and 12 who responded to a questionnaire in which they ranked the perceived effectiveness of various deterrents to joyriding. Criminal sanctions involving serious consequences, such as being convicted and sentenced for the offence, were seen to be potentially the most effective legal deterrents. Similarly, informal sanctions involving serious potential outcomes such as injury and loss of life were seen to be the most effective non-legal deterrents. Situational measures that were considered the most discouraging were those that increased the perceived effort and increased the perceived risk of stealing a car. The most effective neutralisations for joyriding (those most likely to facilitate joyriding) were those contrasting joyriding with the crime of those in power and those shifting the blame to the victim for allowing the car to be stolen; the least effective neutralisations (those least likely to facilitate joyriding) involved denying that joyriding hurt anyone or that joyriding is a crime. As predicted, males and self-identified joyriders generally rated the deterrents to joyriding as less effective than did females and non-joyriders. It is argued that prevention approaches need to incorporate a broad, integrated picture of the perceived costs and benefits of joyriding.
Crime Prevention and Community Safety: an International Journal
© 2002 Palgrave Macmillan. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Crime Prevention and Community Safety. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/cpcs/index.html