Essay Sample on Rationalizing Crime: An Economic Perspective on Bank Robberies and Societal Implications

Published: 2023-12-26
Essay Sample on Rationalizing Crime: An Economic Perspective on Bank Robberies and Societal Implications
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Finance Law Criminal law Banking
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1423 words
12 min read

Crime is a key topic in economics and the day-to-day lives of the people in society. In most cases, criminal behavior is considered to be founded on rational behavior, even though most people mostly view it as irrational (Hagan & Daigle). To most social scientists, crime is closely linked to poverty, work or unemployment, and lack of education. Truancy, crime, and youth unemployment are attributed to the occurrence of crime in society. The Economic Model of Criminal Behavior seeks to explain the occurrence of criminal behavior based on the principles of the neoclassical theory of demand in the economy (Chaharborj et al.). This theory focuses on the forces of demand and supply as the key drivers of production, consumption, and pricing of the goods and services produced in the economy. These concepts have a crucial role in explaining individuals' criminal behavior in as much as they are relevant in addressing the occurrence of bank robberies.

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Based on the neoclassical theory, consumers are rational individuals. Their actions and perception of value gained from consuming a product become the key driving factor to these products' prices in the market (Chaharborj et al.). on the other hand, the economic model of criminal behavior argues that criminals act in an economically rational manner. As such, their behavior responds significantly to the incentives put in place by the criminal justice system to deter criminal behavior. To engage in crime, criminals will act rationally to compare the gains and expected costs from committing such a crime (Fiz Perez et al.). In addition, criminals have to consider the possibility of facing social stigma and the risk of facing punishment. The economic model of crime is used as a model that guides decision making when individuals have to deal with risky situations. The individual attitudes towards risks are likely to determine whether they engage in illegal behavior or not (Winter). The expected utility from engaging in such behavior influences the choice of action for an individual.

Over the years, bank robberies have remained a key topic in the economics of crime. Based on the economic model of criminal behavior, Criminal activities such as bank robbery are similar to paid employment (Hagan & Daigle). This is because it requires time to plan and execute in as much as it produces income for those engaging in it, just like any other employment form. The utility gained by an individual from engaging in criminal behavior influences their tendency to do so (Chaharborj et al.). The relationship between criminal and legal activity is often oversimplified since, in some cases, individuals who are working may view crime as a better opportunity to satisfy their needs.

Bank robbery is a premeditated affair, in which those robbing a bank have to evaluate the rationality of the entire proceeding. The robbers have to consider all the possible consequences of the robbery if the robbery goes wrong and ends up being arrested. They also consider the proceeding's rationality by evaluating the benefits if their plan goes as planned (Hagan & Daigle). In addition, the decision to execute a bank robbery leads to a dilemma as every minute that the robbers stay in the bank increases the chances of being arrested and getting a bigger haul (Winter). As such, the bank robbers have to balance the two or choose the option that produces the highest level of utility.

Crime such as bank robbery qualifies as an economic activity just like any other. This is because it yields its profits and losses in as much as there are risks and returns. Every year, thousands of bank robberies occur around the world (Bojinov). One notable benefit of bank robbery is that it facilitates a transfer of money from the bank to the robbers. To some extent, this benefits the economy as it provides another stream of the money supply. The economy does not have to rely on financial institutions to facilitate the supply of money. Typically, the economy's money supply is created in debts and lending to people at interest (Hagan & Daigle). People obtain loans are required to repay the loans at a given interest rate. As such, bank robbery creates another channel through which the money stolen by the robbers ends up in the hands of the people and circulates in the economy (Chaharborj et al.). To engage in a bank robbery, the criminals have to consider the benefits, such as getting a bigger loot and keeping it. They also consider the probability that the raid will be successful, motivating them to carry out the heist.

On the other hand, the costs of robbing a bank should be considered before the move is executed. The robbers have to consider the possible costs that could arise from the robbery, such as a lengthy jail term, which the robbers may compare to the amount they are likely to get away with (Winter). In addition, the robbers have to consider the possibility that they could get injured or be killed in the process, especially when the robbers are armed with guns. The bank robbers seek to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs by ensuring that they target banks where they are more likely to get away with substantial amounts (Chaharborj et al.). To do so, they need to obtain sufficient information regarding the bank's security details, the amount of money that is available at the time of the robbery, and the most appropriate time that they should strike. Armed robbers are more likely to obtain higher output as the bank staff is more likely to become submissive when a gun is involved (Bojinov). At the same time, the penalties involved committing a crime using the firearm are equally higher than the event where the robbers are unarmed, making armed robberies a game of high stakes.

Banks use various strategies to minimize the benefits and increase the costs for the robbers using various strategies. Key among these strategies is by enhancing security within the banks in order to deter criminals. The adoption of modern technology and combining it with traditional security measures such as guards have helped boost financial institutions (Bojinov). Bank branches have adopted the fast-rising security screens, whereby metal security screens powered by compressed air rise within half a second after a security threat is detected. The metal screen separates the bank staff and money from the area where other public members are located. This significantly minimizes the amount of money taken during a robbery.

Limiting access to cash is also another approach that banks use to minimize the benefits for the robbers. This ensures that the bank tellers do not keep too much money in their drawers, which could become the robbers' target. In addition, using automatic cash dispensing units (CDU) ensures that the tellers do not have direct access to cash and would be able to step away from violence in the event of a robbery. In addition, banks use dye packs that stain the robbers and the money they steal, which renders the stolen money useless (Bojinov). This could also help track down the robbers based on where they use the money. Additionally, the banks hire security guards and greeters who maintain security within the bank premises and welcome the customers, thereby reducing the anonymity of those entering the bank.

In the event of a bank robbery, account holders who are in the bank at the time suffer psychological costs. The same case applies to the bank staff directly affected by the incidents during a robbery (Fiz Perez et al.). However, when bank robberies occur, the customers' deposits are secure since the bank insures them. The bank can pay the bank clients their money, which they can withdraw at any time. The clients do not have to lose all their savings in the bank (Bojinov). On the other hand, bank robberies' occurrence implies that the banks have to incur higher costs improving security within the premises. The costs incurred are then transferred to the bank customers through the charges they pay.

Works Cited

Bojinov, Bojidar V. "Banking Security–Major Manifestations and Aspects." Available at SSRN 2889343 (2016).

Chaharborj, Fatemeh Seddighi, Babak Pourghahramani, and Sarkhosh Seddighi Chaharborj. "A dynamic economic model of criminal activity in the criminal law." Int J Basic Appl Sci 6.4 (2017): 73-76.

FIZ PEREZ, Javier, et al. "Psychological Aspects of Bank Robberies: Prevention and Management Strategies." Quality-Access to Success 20.170 (2019).

Hagan, Frank E., and Leah E. Daigle. Introduction to criminology: Theories, methods, and criminal behavior. Sage Publications, 2018.

Winter, Harold. The economics of crime: an introduction to rational crime analysis. Routledge, 2019.

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