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Burglars On The Job

Streetlife and Residential Break-ins

Richard T. Wright

Publication Year: 2011

Through extensive and candid interviews, the authors of this ground-breaking work have studied burglars' decision-making processes within the context of their streetlife culture. In this volume they present their findings in the areas of motivation, target selection, methods of entering and searching a residence, and methods of selling stolen goods, concluding with a discussion of the theoretical implications of their research.

Published by: Northeastern University Press


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pp. ix-xii

THERE ARE SOME extraordinarily compelling vignettes in this excellent field study of burglars by Richard Wright and Scott Decker. One that particularly caught my fancy was the rapture of some burglars when they found themselves surrounded by all those wonderful things in the house they had ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

THROUGHOUT THE CONDUCT of the study on which this book is based, we received help and advice from many people. Howard Becker guided us through a maze of qualitative data software packages, pointing out the relative advantages and disadvantages of each for the kind of work we had in mind. In ...

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Chapter 1 Introduction

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pp. 3-34

THIS IS A BOOK ABOUT the offender's perspective on the process of committing residential burglaries. It aims to understand such offenses through the eyes of those who commit them. What leads to residential burglaries? How are they done? What does it feel like to do them? No one is better ...

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Chapter 2 Deciding to Commit a Burglary

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pp. 35-61

THE DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS of residential burglars have been well documented. As Shover (1991) has observed, such offenders are, among other things, disproportionately young, male, and poor. These characteristics serve to identify a segment of the population more prone than others ...

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Chapter 3 Choosing the Target

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pp. 62-102

THE MOTIVATION TO COMMIT a residential burglary is not itself sufficient to cause offenders to carry out the offense. Obviously, they must pick out a specific dwelling before acting on that motivation. In theory, the supply of residential properties is so vast that finding a target would seem to be a simple ...

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Chapter 4 Entering the Target

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pp. 103-138

ONCE OFFENDERS HAVE SELECTED a specific residential burglary target, they confront the task of actually breaking into the place. At first glance, this may appear to be a fairly simple matter. On closer investigation, however, it proves to be quite challenging, involving a set of actions that have to be ...

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Chapter 5 Search and Departure Strategies

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pp. 139-163

IN MOST JURISDICTIONS, a residential burglary has been completed in the eyes of the law the moment an offender enters a dwelling without permission, intending to commit a crime therein. But seen through the eyes of the burglars themselves, a break-in is far from complete at this point. Indeed, the ...

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Chapter 6 Disposing of the Goods

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pp. 164-195

THE FINAL HURDLE to be overcome in the commission of residential burglaries involves disposing of the property stolen. A few offenders manage to avoid this obstacle by never stealing anything other than money or items for personal use, but they are very much the exception. Most have to find a ...

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Chapter 7 Residential Burglary: Theory and Prevention

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pp. 196-213

WE BEGAN THIS BOOK with the bold assertion that an understanding of the active offender's perspective on residential burglary was crucial for criminological theory and for crime prevention policy. Five chapters elaborated on that perspective. Now it is time to make good on the premise that our ...


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pp. 214-218


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E-ISBN-13: 9781555537852
E-ISBN-10: 1555537855
Print-ISBN-13: 9781555531850

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2011