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Vandalism of Vending Machines: Factors That Attract Professionals and Amateurs

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 31 Issue: 1 Dated: January/February 2003 Pages: 85-95
Andrew J. Buck; Simon Hakim; Charles Swanson; Arye Rattner
Kent B. Joscelyn
Date Published
January 2003
11 pages
This article discusses the differences in types of vandalism of vending machines by amateurs as compared to professionals, based on the location and properties of the machines.
Surveys were conducted in Philadelphia and Orlando concerning the location of the vending machine, some characteristics of the machine's location, and whether the machine had been vandalized, and, if so, how. Data sets on vandalism of soft drink machines were analyzed in order to reveal the vandal's motives and thought processes. The type and relative frequency of attack was connected with the characteristics of the machine and its location, and the statistical relationships were used to obtain conclusions about vandal behavior. Two categories, professional and amateur, were used to describe the vandals being studied based upon their vandalism methods. It was found that both types were active in areas where they could remain anonymous and could escape detection. However, they differed in that professionals were drawn to the size of the monetary prize, and amateurs were likely to be drawn to public areas where they were more likely to encounter an audience. Topic areas include vandalism background and history, which includes a review of previous research on motives of vandals; vulnerability of various locations to vandalism attacks which provides an overview of the distribution of vending machines and likelihood for attack; a multivariate analysis of the likelihood of vandalism attack discusses the results of several multivariate models; vandalism in hotels analyzes hotel vandalism; and method of attack focuses on the differences between professionals and amateurs in method of attack. In conclusion, it is noted that the behavior of amateur vandals may best be understood on sociological and psychological considerations rather than on economic and acquisitive motives. Tables, references