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Break-ins - Burglary From Private Houses

NCJ Number
D Walsh
Date Published
205 pages
This British criminologist's report uses extensive interviews with both burglars and victims to investigate why people take up burglary as a career, whether burglars can be categorized into different types according to their motivation, and whether certain types of people or dwellings are more vulnerable than others.
A review of the history of burglary in England and its structure in the 20th century shows that society has never been free of burglary. One study indicates that young burglars steal out of a desire for fun and excitement, because of truancy from school, or because of a belief in the low probability of apprehension. Burglaries appear to occur throughout the year, with peaks in January and February. Studies have found that most burglars operate mainly in the morning hours when the children are at school and the parents at work. In addition, several factors were found to influence burglars' choice of homes to burglarize, including apparent affluence, absence of police, easy access, isolation, and unwary neighbors. The ground floor window was the most popular form of entry into the house; the bedroom, dressing table, and downstairs sideboard were usually searched. Based on the findings of numerous studies, the text concludes that there is no statistically significant relationship between wealth and burglary, that victims often create opportunities for burglars, that isolated homes are more likely to be burglarized than others although all homes are vulnerable, and that smaller households are more at risk than larger ones. Furthermore, burglary seems to be unplanned and speculative in nature, relying on obvious opportunity as a trigger. Burglaries can be classified into the following types: challenge burglaries (often involving harm to the victim or property) and dispossessive burglaries (where the intent is only to steal the goods). Methods that householders can take to reduce the risk of burglary are mentioned. Research techniques, supplementary statistics, notes and references, an index, and a bibliography of over 100 works are appended.


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