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Catch Me If You Can, Routine Activities Theory and Prevention of Crimes

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Catch Me If You Can is an American film based on the life of Frank Abagnale. The said actor lived with his French parents in New Rochell, New York. After a divorce between his parents, he runs away. As a result, he lacked money for personal use to the extent that he started to rely on confidence crimes for survival. By his 19th birthday, Frank succeeded in coning many people by falsely posing as a Georgia doctor, pilot, and a parish prosecutor. In a particular instance, he forged a payroll at Pan Am where he managed to steal $ 2.8 million. Primarily, the offender conducted Checks fraud. After many successful theft attempts, he was skilled to the extent that the FBI sought his assistance in catching other offenders. His interaction with the police started after an arrest by Carl Hanratty, an FBI focusing on bank Fraud. After the first arrest, Frank convinced Carl that he was Barry Allen, another FBI agent tracking down the bank Fraudster. After that, Frank left the Hotel, but Carl discovered that it was a trick. Unable to retrace him, Carl felt foolish and disappointed. Later in Christmas, Frank called Carl to apologize for dumping him. However, the apology was only mischievous. Realizing this fact, Carl promises Frank that he would fail in the short term (Steven, & Jeff, 2002).

By this time, Frank’s tricks now included fake identities of a lawyer and doctor. While posing as a Doctor, he fell in love with Brenda whose father later discover his hidden identity. Luckily, Carl traced him at his engagement party. Unluckily, Frank sneaked out through the bedroom window. Two days later, he arranged for a meeting with Brenda at Miami. However, he noticed plain clothes officers waiting to arrest him. As a result, he escaped to Europe. Seven months after the escape, Carl revealed to his boss that Frank was forging checks hence the need to trace him. After Carl missed permission to go and determine Frank in Europe, professionals show that the fake checks were from France. As a result, Carl traces Frank in France for the arrest. Consequently, a twelve years jail term was appropriate. As the last part of his sentence, Frank received the privilege to serve in the FBI as a bank Fraud buster (Steven, & Jeff, 2002).

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The theory that best describes Frank’s criminal behavior is the routine activities theory which closely relates to the rational choice model. Primarily, the regular activities theory argues that people commit crimes as a result of the lifestyles they choose. For instance, Frank started by stealing money for survival after the separation of his parents. Many years later, he was still forging checks as this was the life of his selection. The applicability of the conventional theory thrives on the rational choice tenet where offenders choose to commit crimes based on the profitability of those crimes (Schnell, Grossman, & Braga, 2018). For determining profitability, intending offenders weigh the benefits of a crime against its costs. If the benefits are weightier than the charges, the offense is executed. On the other hand, if the costs of the crimes outweighs the benefits, the offense is then abolished. Usually, the benefits include the money stolen, pleasure derived from crimes, prestige or revenge against an enemy. On the other hand, the costs entail the accompanying jail terms, shame, and fines.

For Frank, the benefits of the crimes were visibly higher than the costs hence the continuation of forgery. For instance, he successfully stole $ 2.8 million in one instance. Despite using fake identity in many other cases, the risk of apprehension was visibly low. For example, Frank easily escaped three arrests despite being an international criminal. In the first instance, he successfully tricked an FBI agent that he was another FBI agent in pursuit of the thief. As a result, Frank escaped from the hotel. Later that Christmas, he dared to call the FBI agent he earlier tricked in the hotel. As such, the mischievousness indicates that Frank was aware of the slim nature of the likelihood for a successful arrest against him. In the second instance, Frank escaped through a bedroom window while attending an engagement party with his lover. Two days later, he escaped yet another arrest at Miami Beach from where he flew to Europe. Moreover, Carl was unable to determine the origin of fake checks until professionals identified France as the country of crime (Steven, & Jeff, 2002).

Last but not least, Frank ended up working for the FBI rather than being a lifetime prisoner. Furthermore, he did not refund the monies stolen through his forgery that lasted for many years. As such, there is evidence that Frank’s criminal behavior was profitable enough to warrant continuity. Another perspective for the explanation of Frank’s behavior is the social context which eventually shaped his rational decision. Precisely, the environment encouraged bank fraud. Perhaps, Frank realized that bank fraud offenders were hard to catch and even when it happened, the punishments were minimal. The evidence for numerous bank fraud cases in Frank’s neighborhood is the fact that he assisted the FBI to catch other offenders (Steven, & Jeff, 2002). For that reason, the police found it wiser to set him free to assist in the arrest of other criminals. Apart from using these theories to understand Frank’s decision to be a criminal, a list of individual characteristics contributed to the negative way of life. First, Frank is a grossly dishonest person. From the start of the movie to the end, he was more comfortable while telling lies than when speaking the truth. One such case is when his lover’s father discovered that his identity was fake. Moreover, he false fully entered his name in a payroll, changed personal names in many instances and even mislead the police.

The first policy for the prevention of crimes based on the rational theory is ensuring the presence of law enforcement agencies. In particular, law enforcement depends on the number of police officers, equipment and training (Taylor, Fritsch, & Liederbach, 2014). Using the example of Frank, the use of fake checks continued due to the insufficiency of law enforcement agencies either in number, training or equipment. When tracked down at the hotel for the first time, Frank successfully tricked the FBI agent because the agent lacked enough mechanisms to determine the offender’s true identity. Besides, the agent was alone thereby signaling the importance of having sufficient law enforces.

Moreover, Frank escaped through a bedroom window because the officers were insufficient to arrest him. Last but not least, the lack of enough trained officers made it hard for the state to tame bank fraud. When the issue was out of hand, FBI agents even collaborated with criminals like Frank to catch other offenders (Steven, & Jeff, 2002). Another measure put in place to prevent bank fraud is the establishment and maintenance of the correctional facility (Sutherland, 2017). According to the movie, Frank’s criminal behavior gained momentum from a deviant society that harbors criminal activity. Indeed, this is the reason the police were unable to curb the crime without assistance. According to Sutherland (2017), governments set up prisons equipped with rehabilitation professionals. After spending time in custody, offenders transform to law abiding citizens. In the long term, this cycle reduces the occurrence of crimes so that society stops to generate new criminals. Another measure put in place to prevent the occurrence of crimes is the establishment and maintenance of courts. Definitively, the role of judges is to evaluate evidence and make justified decisions. As such, they ensure that the costs of crimes are higher than the benefits (Downes, Rock, & McLaughlin, 2016). In the case of Frank, the judge only provided a sentence of twelve years. Since the offender was responsible for many theft cases, the judges ought to have increased the penalty and impose a fine or compensation to Frank’s victims. Last but least, governments ensure civic education on the adverse nature of crimes. In Frank’s case, there lacks evidence that citizens received training on the need to resist crime. Besides, there requires proof that the government provided civic education on how to protect oneself from crimes.

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