Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Ferdinand, Theodore N.||O'Malley, John G.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Sociology


Crime prevention--Illinois--Rockford


The possibility of deterring individuals from committing criminal acts has been investigated by numerous authors, with the results often being contradictory and inconclusive. The present research was designed to examine the effect of four variables, certainty of apprehension, certainty of conviction, severity of penalty, and celerity of adjudication, on the rates of rape and robbery. The study was conducted in the city of Rockford, Illinois, on crimes occurring from 1950 to 1969. A typology on deterrence formulated by William Chambliss was used as a theoretical base for the research. Under this model, rape was considered an expressive act characterized by low commitment, while robbery was classified as an instrumental act with high commitment. It was hypothesized that the four variables would not have a deterrent effect on rape, but should influence the rate of robbery. The results show that fluctuations in the four variables do not appear to have a significant deterrent effect on either the rate of robbery or the rate of rape in the Rockford area.


Includes bibliographical references.


49 pages




Northern Illinois University

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