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Domestic Burglary: Motives and Modus Operandi From the Offender's Perspective

NCJ Number
Date Published
43 pages
The domestic burglary project of the Dutch National Bureau of Police Crime Prevention had two objectives, to increase knowledge about domestic burglary and to develop methods of data collection relevant to domestic burglary prevention.
Police officials conducted interviews with 106 male burglars; 80 percent of the voluntary interviews were held after interrogation in the police station, and 20 percent were held in penitentiaries. The burglars were mainly uneducated young men with low income, a bad work record, and a history of drug use and recidivism. Motives for committing domestic burglary included lack of money, need for acceptance by peers, and need for money to buy drugs. Most burglars disliked what they did, but the money was too tempting to stop committing the crime. About 43 percent of the interviewees were addicted to hard drugs, 23 percent to betting, and 18 percent to alcohol. Domestic burglars appeared to prepare and execute their activities in a determined and planned way. Detached single-family houses and corner houses were preferred, and the back side of houses was the most attractive part to access. Preventive measures, especially when related to the probability of being detected, influenced the choice of target. Alarm systems, watchdogs, and solid locks deterred burglars, as did the presence of occupants. It is concluded that burglary prevention should focus on strengthening social control, heightening visibility, and target hardening. 14 references, 5 tables, and 9 figures