Perceived Sanction Threats and Projective Risk Sensitivity: Auto Theft, Carjacking, and the Channeling Effect
Although sanction threats promote fear, among committed offenders, that fear can become a resource with which to sculpt emerging crime preferences. In such cases, criminality is not deterred but channeled. We explore the channeling process here as it relates to auto theft and carjacking. Our qualitative findings reveal that auto thieves are reluctant to embrace the violence of carjacking due to concerns over sanction threat severity they attributed to carjacking—both formal (higher sentences) and informal (victim resistance and retaliation). Meanwhile, the carjackers are reticent to enact auto theft because of the more uncertain and putatively greater risk of being surprised by victims, a fear that appears to overcome the enhanced long-term formal penalty of taking a vehicle by force. We examine the implications of offenders’ decision-making for the analytic intersection of rational choice and deterrence, offering the notion of projective risk sensitivity to encapsulate the process.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Jacobs, & Cherbonneau, M. (2018). Perceived Sanction Threats and Projective Risk Sensitivity: Auto Theft, Carjacking, and the Channeling Effect. Justice Quarterly, 35(2), 191–222. https://doi.org/10.1080/07418825.2017.1301536