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Role of Violence in Street Crime: A Qualitative Study of Violent Offenders

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 53 Issue: 6 Dated: December 2009 Pages: 617-633
Date Published
December 2009
17 pages

This study explored the motives for street violence.


The motives for violent street crime are wide ranging. Results show that violence in robbery was often used to achieve the material goals of the offense (to steal money or goods) by ensuring compliance and by overcoming resistance. Also found was that violence in assault was used purposively to achieve the immediate goal of harming the victim. In both cases, violence was used in ways that could be directly attributed to the successful commission of the offense. In other cases, violence performed additional functions, such as enhancing the status of the offender, generating a reputation for toughness on the street, providing a response to challenges to masculinity, giving an outlet for aggression and the desire to fight, and as a means of administering retaliation and revenge through informal justice; violence of this kind is used as an expression of a value system that condones violent behavior. Data were collected from interviews with 55 violent street offenders who were serving sentences for street robbery and assault in 6 prisons in the United Kingdom. References

Date Published: December 1, 2009