- Revisiting Lombroso
- Biology and Crime
- Parenting and Crime
- The Psychology of Criminal Conduct
- Risk Factors and Crime
- Social Learning and Crime
- Hirschi’s Criminology
- General Strain and Urban Youth Violence
- Social Support and Crime
- Life-Course-Persistent Offenders
- Change in Offending across the Life Course
- Two Approaches to Developmental/Life-Course Theorizing
- Peer Networks and Crime
- Contemporary Gang Ethnographies
- Girls, Friends, and Delinquency
- Gender and Theories of Delinquency
- Neighborhood Ties, Control, and Crime
- Community, Inequality, and Crime
- Street Culture and Crime
- The Code of the Suburb and Drug Dealing
- Social Institutions and Crime
- The Market Economy and Crime
- Immigration and Crime
- Choosing Street Crime
- Choosing White-Collar Crime
- Emotions, Choice, and Crime
- Routine Activity Theory
- The Theory of Target Search
- Crime Places and Place Management
- Multilevel Criminal Opportunity
- Coercion and Crime
- Green Criminology
- Perceptual Deterrence Theory
- The Effects of Imprisonment
- Coercive Mobility
Abstract and Keywords
Some people are more likely to break the law than others. This likelihood or propensity to break the law is commonly known as criminality. A place with stronger criminality is predicted to have higher crime levels. However, more and more scholars are questioning this way of explaining crime. They argue that for a criminal event to take place, offenders must not only have criminality or the willingness to break the law, but also the opportunity to act on their desires. Thus, the distribution of crime across individuals and environmental spaces depends on both criminality and criminal opportunity. A number of theories have addressed the importance of criminal opportunity, including lifestyle-routine activities, environmental design, rational choice, offender search, and social control theories. These theories, collectively known as “opportunity theories,” have one thing in common: their overarching premise that offenders make decisions about crime events based on perceived opportunity. This article integrates opportunity theories into a general multilevel opportunity perspective.
Pamela Wilcox is Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati.
Brooke Miller Gialopsos is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology at the College of Mount St. Joseph.
Kenneth C. Land is John Franklin Crowell Professor of Sociology and Demography at Duke University.
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