Deterrence and road trauma

Paul Wilson, RA Lincoln

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

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It is popularly believed that one of the main functions of the criminal law is to frighten people and hence deter them from committing crimes. However, it is a common misconception that in relation to all crimes, the greater the penalty, the fewer will be the number of people who commit the crime. Such a concept of human behaviour is not supported by the facts.

Hawkins and Zimring have called deterrence "the problematic postulate".

They point out that when a penalty is increased there exists five logically distinct groups.
1. Those people who were not tempted to commit the crime before.
2. Those who still commit the crime any way.
3. Those who will be tempted to commit the crime because of the increased penalty.
4. Those who would have committed the crime but are deterred by
the new penalty.
5. Those who stop committing that particular crime but substitute other forms of criminal behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1983
Externally publishedYes
EventRoyal Automobile Club of Queensland -
Duration: 1 Apr 19831 Apr 1983


OtherRoyal Automobile Club of Queensland
Abbreviated titleRACQ


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