Burglars as Optimal Foragers: Exploring Modern-Day Tricks of the Trade

ADDIS, Nicholas, EVANS, Andrew and MALLESON, Nick (2021). Burglars as Optimal Foragers: Exploring Modern-Day Tricks of the Trade. Crime Prevention and Community Safety: an international journal.

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Official URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41300-0...
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41300-021-00125-x


Based on semi-structured interviews with 23 incarcerated burglars, this paper details findings from a qualitative examination into how the principles of Optimal Forager Theory (to minimise time and effort, minimise risk of detection, and maximise reward) apply to the behavioural methods utilised by offenders. Findings included the use of ‘serial targets’ (to minimise time and effort), as well as offenders’ ability to ‘blend in’ to their surroundings (to minimise risk of detection). To maximise reward, offenders used brands of consumables (evident from packaging found in residents’ rubbish) as a proxy for wealth, as well as personal details gathered through residents’ discarded mail to establish their ethnicity (for the targeting of Asian gold). The findings support the notion of ‘dysfunctional expertise’, and demonstrate how efforts to maximise time and effort, minimise reward, and maximise risk of detection for offenders can be used to develop crime prevention policy to reduce future burglaries.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1602 Criminology; 1605 Policy and Administration
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41300-021-00125-x
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2021 07:49
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2022 01:18
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/28797

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