SMORC, the Simple Model of Rational Crime

By | 2016-11-04T16:57:59+00:00 October 9, 2013|Insights, Right Hemisphere, Viewpoints|

Tales From the Right Hemisphere, the blog that plugs into the right brain and connects the emotional and intuitive actions that result in decisions.

Let’s all be criminals for a moment. We want to rob a house. Our first house is a run-down shack at the edge of town. There is nobody around, because nobody wants to live in the area. You realize you could break in easily, and given the neighborhood, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be caught.

Do you rob the place? Probably not, given the likelihood of having anything worth stealing being ridiculously low. You move on.

The second house is more like a mansion. It sits on a fenced property. You can see an expensive Italian sports car in the driveway. You can also see security cameras. There is no doubt this house is full of
great stuff to steal, but it will be incredibly hard to break in unnoticed and your chances of getting caught are high.

Do you rob the place? Probably not. You look for someplace easier but still with a probability of having good stuff to steal.

I can imagine that some of you, perhaps most of you, don’t consider robbing houses on a regular basis and are wondering what SMORC has to do with insight.

SMORC is a cost-benefit analysis. What might be the cost to obtain the benefit? Is it worthwhile?

Our targets go through the same cost-benefit analysis when they consider a purchase. Some are very low interest—household goods—and others very high interest—side effect profile vs therapeutic benefit, but all have a thought process. We need to understand our target’s thought processes when they make decisions.

Let’s try a different scenario.

You have to be at an appointment at 7:00 PM and it’s 6:50 PM. Your dry cleaner is on the way and closes at 7:00 PM. You need your suit for an important meeting the next day. You drive up to the cleaners and the only spot available is a handicapped spot. You have 3 choices:

  1. Drive around the block and find another parking spot, and miss your 7:00 PM appointment.
  2. Skip the dry cleaners and go without your suit to your important meeting the next morning.
  3. Park in the handicapped spot, pick up your dry cleaning, and make your 7:00 PM appointment.

Most people I spoke to said they would park in the handicapped spot. The rationale was that they would be in and out, and the chance of any kind of repercussion was small. Low cost (a little guilt maybe) and a timely benefit.

Now, by adding a police officer to the scenario, the chance of a repercussion increases to almost certainty. All would choose between the appointment or picking up their laundry. Let’s add some emotion. You see a car with handicapped plates approaching—what would you do?

Do you recognize how often you apply a cost-benefit analysis, whether consciously or unconsciously?

Let me know, I’m here.

About the Author:

Malcolm MacKenzie
SVP, Strategic Planning and Customer Insights

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