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date: 23 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter seeks to enrich and extend thinking about the rational choice perspective to offender decision making and its pivotal application in situational crime prevention by taking an evolutionary approach, which is still uncommon in crime science and criminology. The chapter introduces basic concepts of evolution, covering the brain and behavior, levels and types of explanation, the strained relationship with social science, and the evidencing of evolutionary processes. The focus then shifts to rationality, covering decision making; the wider suite of processes needed to understand rationality in action; and specific discussions of cooperation, humans’ wider “sociocognitive niche,” and development. Although evolutionary issues are addressed throughout, the penultimate section discusses how rationality in the broadest sense has unfolded over evolutionary history and the significant connection between maximization of utility in contemporary rational choice and maximization/optimization of fitness in evolution. The conclusion raises practical, empirical, and theoretical questions for crime science.

Keywords: crime science, situational crime prevention, rational choice, evolution, decision making

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