Mock burglaries produce patterns among ex-burglars and non-burglars alike

Mock burglaries produce patterns among ex-burglars and non-burglars alike

A study published by researchers from the University of Portsmouth, UK and the University of Sussex, UK in 2014 studied the behaviors of ex-burglars and postgraduate students who had never participated in a burglary. This study was particularly significant because it used a real house and a house simulated on a laptop unlike prior studies, which often relied on interviews and map-based surveys. Each of the twelve participants in the study participated in a mock burglary of a home and a simulated burglary on the computer. Interestingly, the researchers confirmed many of their observations as well as information from existing research.

The ex-burglars had each committed many burglaries before and were recruited to the study through advertisements. The study found that they all entered the home and the simulated home through the rear of the house while the students entered through the front door. The front door was exposed to the street, so the ex-burglars knew to enter where it would be harder to be seen. This was one of the several patterns that the researchers found.

The study seemed to indicate that the ex-burglars had learned efficiency from their prior burglaries. In fact, all of the ex-burglars started their simulations on the upper floor where the bedrooms were. They found items, like wallets and cellphones, of high value efficiently. On the other hand, the postgraduate students spent more time in rooms on the lower floor and in rooms such as bathrooms that did not contain any valuables worth stealing. The students did not pay attention to designer handbags, which often contained a wallet. The ex-burglars “stole” fewer items, but items of high value and higher total value, than the students did.

The observed experience of the ex-burglars in comparison to the postgraduate students, a control group in the study, provides valuable insight for researchers and perhaps even law enforcement alike. We learn that former burglars think in similar ways given that they all searched the sample house in a similar manner. Perhaps this is due to the prior experience that the ex-burglars had. Understanding this will help psychologists, sociologists and criminologists better understand patterns of crime that may, eventually, be used to prevent or deter crime.

In New York State, burglary is considered a class B, C or D felony. This means that if you are convicted of burglary, then you may face serious punishment. If you have been accused of burglary or are concerned that you may be the subject of a criminal burglary investigation, then you should contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. Julie Rendelman is a New York City attorney with more than 20 years of legal experience. She fights for the rights of the accused and will work to create a defense for you and represent you in hearings or in court. Call 212-951-1232 to reach Ms. Rendelman’s office for a free consultation and visit to learn more about the Law Offices of Julie Rendelman, LLC.