Building capacity to comply with conservation laws and rules is a common goal.
An overwhelming number of conservation crime-related interventions are built upon the idea of deterrence. Deterrence suggests the certainty, severity, and swiftness of sanctions will gain compliance with conservation laws or rules. (There are lots of other ideas on lawbreaking criminology, including Strain Theory, Social Learning Theory or Social Bonding. There are also other ways to promote compliance with rules, such as Social Marketing).
As more resources are invested in reducing risks from conservation crime, we will need more methods and tools to understand how effective they are. Deterrence is a concept with broad application to conservation crime.
There are two forms of deterrence theory. Classical deterrence says “rational” actors will perform behaviors they perceive as pleasurable and shy away from behaviors they perceive as painful. The threat of a punishment that is perceived certain, severe, and swift and criminal behavior will be detected and punished. This form of the idea doesn’t explain all human behavior, particularly in a conservation context. Newer notions of deterrence theory suggest we should consider additional variables to understand why people break rules, including moral emotions (e.g., shame, guilt, embarrassment), social disapproval, and motivation. There are many forms of deterrence. The two most common kinds are specific deterrence (e.g., aimed at a known offender) and general deterrence (e.g., aimed at the general population). In conservation, it may be really useful to think about restrictive deterrence, or how rule breakers adapt in order to limit the magnitude, frequency or seriousness of their offenses to avoid pain.