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Armed Robbery in America

NCJ Number
Canadian Police College Journal Volume: 5 Issue: 1 Dated: (1981) Pages: 1-12
A Normandeau
Date Published
12 pages
The findings of the Quebec Task Force on Armed Robbery focus on the incidence of armed robbery, the robber, the victim, probable causes leading to armed robbery, and possible prevention measures to the problem.
According to the statistics of the United Nations, North America has a rate of violent crime 5 to 10 times higher than that of European countries. In 1980, the Quebec Task Force on armed robbery was formed to examine the nature of armed robbery in Quebec and Canada in order to suggest possible measures to reduce its occurrence. The task force found that armed robbery is essentially an urban phenomenon. About 25 percent of such robberies are committed against banks; two-thirds are against small businesses. Most robbers work in pairs, with most of their victims being women (90 percent for banks and 60 percent for businesses). Although a weapon is used to threaten, the actual use of violence is relatively rare (10 percent). Only one theft in four is solved by the arrest and arraignment of a suspect. A third of the robbers are under 18. Robbers are most often from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and are chronically unemployed. Psychological consequences to the victim vary according to the duration and frequency of the robberies. Recommendations made by the task force are increased burglar prevention efforts on the part of possible victims, creation of a league of rights for victims to put forward the views of the victimized, establishment of a specialized squad of police devoted to armed robberies, investigation of the judicial attitude that consistently allows plea bargaining, and formation of a team of special prosecutors to prosecute armed robberies. A list of 31 references is included.


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