It is a commonly held intuition that increasing punishment leads to less crime. Let us move our glance from the punishment for the crime itself to the punishment for the attempt to commit a crime, or to the punishment for the threat to carry it out. We argue that the greater the punishment for the attempted robbery, i.e., for the threat, "give me your money or else," the greater the number of robberies and threats there will be. The punishment for the threat makes the withdrawal from it more expensive for the criminal, making the relative cost of committing the crime lower. In other words, the punishment of the threat may turn an incredible threat into a credible one. Therefore, the robber has a strong interest in a legal system that increases the punishment of the threat.
"The Robber Wants to Be Punished,"
Touro Law Review: Vol. 37:
1, Article 12.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.tourolaw.edu/lawreview/vol37/iss1/12