Indian Criminologist with an International Outlook
Space Transition© Theory of Cyber Crimes
The copyright of this chapter is with Prentice Hall. Third parties can mail me for permission to republish.
Jaishankar K., (2008). Space Transition Theory of Cyber Crimes. In Schmallager, F., & Pittaro, M. (Eds.), Crimes of the Internet (pp.283-301). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Cyberspace presents an exciting new frontier for criminologists. Virtual reality and computer mediated communications challenge the traditional discourse of criminology, introducing new forms of deviance, crime, and social control. Since the 1990s, academics have observed how the cyberspace has emerged as a new locus of criminal activity, but in general, criminology has been remiss in its research into the phenomena of cyber crime and has been slow to recognize the importance of cyberspace in changing the nature and scope of offending and victimization. As such, very few theoretical explanations of cyber crime exist.
Some researchers have tried to explain cyber crimes with traditional theories, such as Social Learning Theory (Skinner and Fream 1997; Rogers 1999; 2001), Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory and Differential Reinforcement Theory (Rogers 2001), Cohen’s Strain Theory (O'Connor 2003), Deindividuation Theory (Demetriou and Silke 2003), Gottfredson and Hirschi’s General Theory of Crime (Foster 2004), Routine Activities Theory (Adamski 1998; McKenzie 2000; Grabosky 2001; Pease 2001; Yar 2005) and multiple theories (McQuade 2005; Taylor et.al 2005; Darin et. al 2006). However, these theoretical explanations were found to be inadequate as an overall explanation for the phenomenon of cyber crimes, because cyber crimes are different from crimes of physical space.
There is a need for a theory for cyber crimes. Therefore, this paper is directed at theory building for the explanation of criminal behaviour in the cyberspace, and presents the Space Transition Theory. "Space Transition Theory” is an explanation about the nature of the behaviour of the persons who bring out their conforming and non-conforming behaviour in the physical space and cyberspace. Space Transition involves the movement of persons from one space to another (e.g., from physical space to cyber space and vice versa). Space Transition Theory argues that, people behave differently when they move from one space to another.
The postulates of the theory are:
(b) Associates of physical space are likely to unite to commit crime in cyberspace.
Space Transition© (coined by Dr. K. Jaishankar)