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Introduction to Criminology Instructor: Jorge Pierrott

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1 Introduction to Criminology Instructor: Jorge Pierrott
CRJ 270 Instructor: Jorge Pierrott

2 11 Crimes Against Property

3 Chapter Objectives After reading this chapter, students should be able to answer the following questions: What are the major forms of property crime discussed in this chapter? What constitutes the crime of burglary? What are some of its characteristics? What constitutes the crime of larceny-theft? What forms does it take? What is motor vehicle theft? How prevalent is it? What constitutes the crime of arson? What are some characteristics of persistent and professional thieves? What are the typical activities of receivers of stolen property, and how are stolen goods distributed?

4 Stolen Art Business

5 Burglary Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) /FBI definition
The unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft Nevada definition – entry into a structure to commit a grand or petit larceny, assault or battery on any person or any felony, or to obtain money or property by false pretenses Residential burglaries do not involve direct confrontation between victim and offender but can cause fear with lasting effects Commercial burglaries can affect the continued viability of the business Burglary involves unlawful entry into a structure for the purpose of committing a felony or theft Burglary is a highly prevalent crime: victimization data suggests that most U.S. households will be burglarized at least once over the average lifetime Force is not a required element of burglary, although burglaries are differentiated by whether force is used 2012 UCR/NIBRS and NCVS data provide some information on burglary The majority of burglaries are of residential properties, most of which occur during the day Burglary has a very low clearance rate According to the NCVS, burglaries are highly underreported The majority of burglaries involved forcible entry The consequences of burglary can be very profound for the victim; despite the lack of direct confrontation with the offender, the fear resulting from the crime can have lasting effects

6 The Social Ecology of Burglary
Lifestyle and routine activities theories emphasize how criminal opportunity is affected by victims' and offenders' everyday activities/environments Structure of social life affects ease/difficulty of carrying out inclination to offend Three ingredients are necessary: Motivated offender Suitable target and Lack of a capable guardian Highest risk are those with the highest and lowest incomes. Burglary rates are higher in large metropolitan areas and in the Midwestern region of the United States Lifestyle and routine activity theory have affected explanations of how the nature and level of property crime offending has changed in response to changes in the routine activities and structures of daily living The three ingredients necessary for a crime to occur are a motivated offender, a suitable target, and the lack of a capable guardian Theories explore how the structure of social life makes it easy or difficult for people to carry out their inclinations to commit crimes Research has found that, independent of race, households with the highest and lowest incomes had the greatest risk of victimization Research using data from the British Crime Survey attempted to estimate the risk for crimes, including burglary The study found that the highest victimization risk for burglary was found within single-adult households (compared to households with at least two adults) Victimization risks were highest for people living in areas characterized by a high percentage of unemployed, high building density, primary-individual households, and single-parent households with children Victimization risk for personal theft was lower for individuals who are married, older, and male, and higher for women and individuals with more education

7 A Typology of Burglars Low-level burglars Spur of the moment crimes
Mainly juveniles, work with others, easily deterred by locks, alarms, security devices Rewards not significant, many desist as get older Low-level burglars are primarily juveniles, who often commit crimes impulsively, usually work with others, are easily dissuaded from a particular target by security devices, do not gain significant rewards, and frequently desist from burglary as they get older continued on next slide

8 A Typology of Burglars Middle-range burglars High-level burglars
Older, vacillate between crime and legitimate activities Less easily deterred High-level burglars Professionals, work in organized crews Earn a good living from burglary Middle-range burglars are generally older, move back and forth between legitimate and criminal pursuits, more commonly use alcohol and other drugs, are easily dissuaded from a target by security devices, gain larger rewards from their crimes than do low-level burglars, but lack connections to permit constant and large-scale dealing in stolen goods High-level burglars are professionals, work in organized groups, engage in careful planning and target selection, and earn a significant living from their crimes

9 The Locales and Times of Burglary
Nighttime residential and daytime commercial burglary are considered the most serious Burglary is a “cold crime” because there usually is little physical evidence to link the offender to the crime Nighttime residential and daytime commercial burglary are considered more serious by the police because of the increased risk of a confrontation between the offender and other persons Burglary is considered a “cold” crime because there is generally little physical evidence and because the crime is often discovered long after it actually occurred (especially if it is a residential burglary)

10 The Motivation of Burglars
The most prevalent rationale is the need for fast cash Selection of burglary as the “crime of choice” Burglary is familiar, the “main line” It is less risky than other offenses The offender may not own the necessary equipment for robbery The most prevalent rationale behind the crime of residential burglary is economic (the need for fast cash to maintain street status, buy drugs, provide basic necessities, etc.) The majority of residential burglars live a party lifestyle and use much of the money obtained from burglary to maintain this lifestyle, which includes illicit drugs, alcohol, and sexual pursuits Commercial burglaries are even more associated with instrumental ends such as economic gain than are residential burglaries; professional burglars are also motivated by economic gain Many offenders choose burglary because it is familiar, is less risky than other crimes (such as selling drugs or robbery), or because they do not have the equipment necessary for robbery (such as a gun) A small number of burglars commit crimes for the excitement rather than for the money

11 Target Selection for Burglary
Commercial burglaries Suitability Retail establishments preferred Commercial burglars select sites on the basis of the target’s suitability, with retail establishments four times more likely to be burglarized than other times of commercial establishments continued on next slide

12 Target Selection for Burglary
Residential burglaries Key factors include knowledge of occupants, tips, observation of potential target Other influential factors include signs of occupancy, security devices, dogs, access to area Most residential burglars have potential targets in mind prior to committing the crime, usually selected based on knowledge of the occupants, receipt of a tip, or through observation Some residential burglars do target residences of persons known to them, although generally not residences of close friends or relatives Selection based on information from tipsters is not common, as most burglars lack such connections Burglary targets are rarely chosen impulsively, although the amount of observation prior to selection is usually fragmented Other elements also influence target selection Signs of occupancy are very important, as most burglars do not want to burglarize occupied dwellings Most residential burglars avoid residences with complex security devices because they do not have the skill to bypass these devices Dogs will also deter offenders from potential targets because of the possibility of injury and because of the potential for noise by the dog

13 The Costs of Burglary Most household burglaries involve economic loss
Stolen property/money Time lost from work Property crimes like burglary have a greater effect on the decision to move than violent crimes According to the NCVS, well over 3/4 of household burglaries involve some type of economic loss, with approximately 20% involving losses of over $1,000 Items stolen from homes include personal times such as jewelry and clothing, household furnishings, tools, and cash A small percentage of victims also lose time from work as a result of the victimization Property crimes appear to have a larger effect than violent crimes on the victim’s decision to move, especially if there has been repeated property victimization near the home

14 The Burglary-Drug Connection
Increased demand for crack cocaine in the 1980s affected crime rates Burglary rates decreased Robbery rates increased Crack trade created preference for cash-intensive crimes (robbery) over burglary During the 1980s, burglary began to decrease and robbery increase, possibly due to an increased demand for crack cocaine Offenders using crime to fund drug habits need to rely on crimes such as robbery that produce quick cash Burglary is more likely to result in stolen goods rather than cash continued on next slide

15 The Burglary-Drug Connection
Shift in crimes consistent with the view that property offenders tend to be generalists The illicit market for crack has driven down the street value of stolen goods, reducing preference for burglary as a crime

16 The Sexualized Context of Burglar
Some burglaries have associated sexual dynamics key types include fetishists and voyeurists Some sexually motivated homicides begin as burglaries Can be explained from the perspective of opportunity theory Home-intrusion rape Although economic gain is the primary motive for most burglaries, there is a category of burglaries motivated by sexual forces Fetishes involve the offender stealing particular items because they provide an outlet for sexual gratification Voyeuristic burglaries may involve looking around but not actually taking anything A study of sexual murderers found that the majority had a history of burglary, suggesting that burglary may constitute part of a pattern of sexual offending Residential rape and burglary both involve the unlawful entry of a structure by stealth and may have similar opportunity structures

17 Professional Burglar

18 Larceny-Theft UCR definition
the unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession, or constructive possession, of another Most frequently occurring property offense. This includes stolen motor vehicles, followed by shoplifting and thefts from a building FBI estimated that 6.2 million larceny thefts occurred in 2012 for an estimated 68.5% Larceny/theft is defined by the UCR as “the unlawful taking, carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession, or constructive possession, of another” continued on next slide

19 Larceny-Theft Does not involve force or other means of illegal entry
Generally less frightening than burglary A crime of opportunity Unlike burglary, it does not involve the use of force or other means of illegal entry, making it more a crime of opportunity and thus seemingly less frightening Prevalence and profile of larceny-theft According to the FBI and data from the NCVS, larceny is the most frequently occurring property crime The largest categories include theft from motor vehicles, followed by shoplifting and theft from buildings As a form of theft, larceny does not involve the use of force or other means of illegal entry

20 Shoplifting and Employee Theft
Some retail theft is shoplifting, some committed by store employees Most are short-term workers Internal theft more serious than loss due to shoplifting Technology is one of the best ways to address both types of theft Crosses class lines, not committed primarily be women Thefts cost retailers billions of dollars annually Most employees stealing cash or merchandise are short-term and typically work in retail establishments with higher-than-average sales and a high degree of management turnover Many retailers see internal theft to be a more serious problem than consumer shoplifting, particularly with the current economic situation One concern of retailers is that efforts to combat shoplifting may impact sales Technology is used to address both types of crime (e.g., computerized inventory counts to track merchandise; electronic detection systems; antitheft tags attached to goods)

21 Who Shoplifts? Caroline Giuliani
Juveniles overrepresented as shoplifters More common in lower-income youths Majority of juveniles admit to shoplifting at some point in their lifetime Maturing out pattern? Who shoplifts? Discuss shoplifting by well-known people such as Caroline Giuliani, Winona Ryder, and Lindsay Lohan, and explain why they are not typical shoplifters, although their cases were highly publicized Juveniles are overrepresented in shoplifting statistics Shoplifting by adolescents is typical among all social classes, although the most serious and chronic forms are found less among the more economically disadvantaged members of society Youths from lower-income households are more likely to shoplift, although this relationship is moderate

22 Flash Mobs and Larceny Flash mobs
Purposeful crowds brought together at a moment's notice through use of social media web sites Some involve organized criminal activity Larcenies committed by flash mobs are considered multiple-offender crimes Flash mobs are purposeful crowds brought together on a moment’s notice through the use of social media Web sites While some gatherings are peaceful and fun, others can involve organized criminal activity Loss-prevention specialists consider larcenies committed by flash mobs as multiple-offender crimes

23 Identity Theft The misuse of another's personal information to commit fraud Main types Existing account fraud thieves obtain information on open accounts New account fraud thieves use personal information to open new accounts in the victim's name Identity theft: the misuse of another individual’s personal information to commit fraud It involves obtaining credit, merchandise, or services by fraudulent personal representation The most threatening aspects of identity theft are its potential relationship to international terrorism Misuse of stolen personal information can be classified into two broad categories Existing account fraud occurs when thieves obtain account information involving accounts that are already open; it is a less costly but more prevalent form of identity theft New account fraud occurs when thieves use personal information to open new accounts in the victim’s name, make charges indiscriminately, and then disappear; it is less likely to occur but imposes greater costs and hardships on victims continued on next slide

24 Identity Theft Costs of identity theft Direct losses to victims
Indirect costs to businesses for fraud prevention and harm mitigation Indirect costs to victims – civil litigation, obstacles in obtaining or retaining credit Consumers' fears of victimization can also harm the digital economy Costs of identity theft Direct losses involved when thieves fraudulently open new accounts or misuse existing accounts Indirect costs to businesses for fraud prevention and harm mitigation Indirect financial costs to individual victims include costs incurred in civil litigation and in overcoming obstacles to obtain or retain credit continued on next slide

25 Identity Theft 1998 Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act made identity theft a federal crime 2004 Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act Identity theft became a federal crime with the passage of the 199 Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act – the 2004 Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act added enhanced penalties for criminals convicted of identity theft or of using identity theft to commit other crimes

26 The Incidence of Identity Theft
BJS definition of identity theft Unauthorized use/attempted use of existing credit cards Unauthorized use/attempted use of other existing accounts Misuse of personal information to obtain new accounts or loans, or to commit other crimes A 2011 Bureau of Justice Statistics report using NCVS data found that 7% of all households had at least one member who had been the victim of identity theft in the previous year The most common type of identity theft was the unauthorized use of credit cards About 1 in 6 victimized households had to pay higher interest rates as a result of the crime and 1 in 9 were denied phone or utility service as a consequence of being victimized Other costs to the victims included being turned down for insurance or having to pay higher rates, being subject to a civil suit or judgment, or being the subject of a criminal investigation

27 Identity Thieves: Who They Are
Hard to classify identity thieves Often have no prior criminal background, sometimes have preexisting relationship with victim Increased involvement of foreign organized criminal groups in computer- or Internet-related schemes Identity thieves cannot be readily classified, as most victims do not know who stole or misused their information Identity thieves often have no prior criminal background and sometimes have preexisting relationships with the victims There appears to be increased involvement of foreign organized criminal groups in computer- or Internet-related identity theft schemes

28 Motor Vehicle Theft UCR definition
The theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle Automobiles are the most commonly-stolen type of vehicle Car theft violates victim beyond financial loss The UCR defines motor vehicle theft as “the theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle,” which includes various means of transportation The most commonly stolen vehicle is an automobile The theft of a car violates the victim in a way that goes beyond financial loss - the crime makes it difficult for many victims to get to work and sometimes requires them to take time away from work to deal with the incident continued on next slide

29 Motor Vehicle Theft Largest percentage of vehicles stolen from parking lot or garage Most motor vehicle thefts reported to police In 2012, over 721,000 motor vehicles were reported stolen The largest percentage of stolen vehicles were in a parking lot or garage, with a significant percentage taking place at or near the victim’s residence 81% of motor vehicle thefts are reported to the police – the reporting percentage is higher for completed thefts than for attempts

30 Theft of Car Parts Motivations
Car parts may be worth a lot Can be sold easily Harder to identify than entire cars 1984 Motor Vehicle Theft Law Enforcement Act called for marking of cars' major sheet metal parts with VINs About 1/3 of stolen vehicles that are listed as recovered are completely stripped at chop shops, while another third are stropped of easy-to-sell accessories There are various motivations for the theft of car parts: many are worth a significant sum, they can be sold easily by novice thieves, and are more difficult to identify than entire cars The Motor Vehicle Theft Law Enforcement Act, passed by Congress in 1984, called for marking major sheet metal parts of high-theft cars with VINs to deter theft of stolen parts to the auto body repair industry

31 Joyriders Car theft for fun
Opportunistic car theft committed for fun or thrills, usually by groups of teens Expressive act with little or no extrinsic value Most vehicles stolen by joyriders are recovered, usually found abandoned, often after having been crashed Joyriding involves car thefts that are usually opportunistic and usually committed by groups of teenagers for fun or thrills Joyriding is an expressive act with little or no extrinsic value Most vehicles stolen by joyriders are recovered, although they are often found abandoned and often after they have been crashed

32 Professional Car Theft
Less common as thefts for other uses Professional auto thieves work in groups characterized by planning and calculation in target selection Professional thefts have lowest recover rates Professional thefts are the most costly and most serious type of auto theft but are not as common as thefts for other uses Professional auto thieves generally operate in groups and engage in planning and calculation in target selection They generally target luxury cars that may be driven out of the country or shipped overseas Professional auto thefts have the lowest recovery rate

33 Arson UCR definition Majority of arrestees white males
The willful or malicious burning or attempt to burn, with or without intent to defraud, of a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc. Majority of arrestees white males Motives vary from profit to thrill seeking The FBI defines arson as “any willful or malicious burning or attempt to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling, house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc.” The FBI records a fire as arson only after it has been investigated and officially classified as arson by the proper authorities; fires of suspicious or unknown origins are not included in FBI arson statistics

34 Fire Setters Majority of those involved in arson are juveniles
General groups of juvenile fire setters Children under 7 start fires accidentally or out of curiosity Children between 8-12 fire setting represents underlying psychosocial conflict Arson for profit is only a minor part of the loss due to arson and the businessperson committing arson to collect insurance money is atypical of arsonists in general The majority of those involved in arson are juveniles Juveniles are more likely to be involved in arson in cities than in suburbs or rural areas and commit both residential and commercial arson They are involved in arson more often than adults There are three main groups of juvenile fire setters: Children under the age of 7, who generally start fires accidentally or out of curiosity Children between the ages of 8 and 12, who may start fires out of curiosity or more likely because of underlying psychosocial conflicts continued on next slide

35 Fire Setters General groups of juvenile fire setters
Children between 13-18 have history of fire setting, usually undetected Children between the ages of 13 and 18 who have a history of fire setting, usually undetected Shickshinny, Luzerne County - A firefighter in Luzerne County has been suspended from his position after police say he started two fires.  Shickshinny firefighter Corey Davis was arrested Tuesday and charged with arson. State police say the 20-year-old sparked 2 fires at his Mocanaqua home in January.  The fires were extinguished quickly, leaving little to no visible damage on the vacant side of the double block house. At a news conference Tuesday night, the chief apologized to the community and said he never saw this coming.  "This is a fire chief's worst nightmare, something like this, so we do kind of police each other and watch out for things and there was no indication that he was this kind of individual," says Shickshinny Volunteer Fire Chief Kevin Morris. The department voted unanimously to suspend Davis pending the outcome of his hearing.  Though, Davis had already stepped down from the department several days after learning about the investigation.  His bail has been set at $50,000.

36 Persistent and Professional Thieves
Professional criminal a criminal offender who makes a living from criminal pursuits, is recognized by other offenders as a professional, and engages in offending that is planned and calculated Offenses such as larceny and burglary may be legally different but they are all basically property crimes of theft, and in some way all such offenders are thieves Neil Shover defines professional criminals as those “who commit crime with some degree of skill, earn reasonably well from their crimes, and despite stealing over long periods of time, spend rather little time incarcerated” continued on next slide

37 Persistent and Professional Thieves
Persistent thief one who continues in common law property crimes despite no better than an ordinary level of success Persistent thieves continue in property crimes despite having, at best, an ordinary level of success: most do not specialize but alternate among a variety of crimes (e.g., burglary, robbery, car theft, con games) continued on next slide

38 Persistent and Professional Thieves
Offense specialization a preference for engaging in a certain type of offense to the exclusion of others Cafeteria-style offending the heterogeneous and unplanned nature of offending among gang members Offense specialization, a preference for a certain type of offense, is limited among property offenders Cafeteria-style offending refers to the heterogeneous and unplanned nature of offending among gang members This term has also been used to refer to the style of offending found among both violent and property offenders It appears that a minimal level of specialization exists among property offenders continued on next slide

39 Persistent and Professional Thieves
Occasional offender a criminal offender whose offending patterns are guided primarily by opportunity Property offenders are often designated as occasional offenders because of the short-term and sporadic nature of offending Occasional refers not to the frequency of offending but to the nature and character of the offending Occasional property offenders commit crimes when there is an opportunity or situational inducement

40 The Criminal Careers of Property Offenders
Criminal behavior that is an integrated, dynamic structure of sequential unlawful acts that advances within a wider context of causal and correlative influences… continued on next slide

41 The Criminal Careers of Property Offenders
Phases of criminal career in property crime Break-in period – early years of an offender’s career years old Stable period – highest commitment. Most identifies with the criminal lifestyle. Period where rehabilitative efforts are more likely to fail. Burnout phase – 40 years of age, where the criminal begin to drop out of the lifestyle. Alfred Blumstein suggests that a criminal career in property offending has three phases: The break-in period characterizes the offender’s early years and may last for the first 10 to 12 years of the offender’s career The stable period is the time of highest commitment and the period when the offender most closely identifies with a criminal lifestyle The burnout phase is characterized by increasing dropout rates and a reduced commitment to a criminal lifestyle Other researchers suggest that the criminal careers of violent offenders are much shorter The assumption that career offending becomes more serious and frequent over time has recently been challenged by the belief that crime may be a more fragmented pursuit Fleisher argues that the social maturation of the street life cycle allows individuals to behave like adolescents and never acquire socially mature responsibilities, suggesting that street criminals therefore do not have careers

42 Property Offenders and Rational Choice
Rationality activities identified by their impersonal, methodological, efficient, and logical components (rational choice) Burglars employ a “limited, temporal rationality” Research on property crimes is often conducted from the perspective of rational choice theories (refer back to Chapter 3) Research suggests that the use of rationality is common, although partial and limited rather than total Rationality is not a dichotomous variable but a continuum with offenders at one end using more rationality while those at the other end may sometimes show behavior that appears totally senseless This chapter examines both the professional and the persistent occasional thief and examines a variety of research on typologies of property crime offending to consider whether property crimes are rational pursuits for either expressive or instrumental gains The major property crimes examined in this chapter are larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft, burglary, and arson

43 Receivers of Stolen Property
Basic elements Buying and receiving Stolen property Knowing it to be stolen Fence is least common method of disposing of stolen goods for most thieves most common method used by professional burglars The basic elements of the crime involves buying and receiving stolen property while knowing it to be stolen Receiving stolen property involves various levels of profits for people with various levels of skill Some burglars commit crimes specifically to obtain something they know someone wants and sell the item directly to the customer Burglars may also sell stolen goods to people known to them or take the stolen goods to flea markets, auctions, and so on Some burglars sell stolen merchandise to merchants while representing it as legal goods The use of a professional fence to dispose of stolen goods is the most common method for professional burglars but the least common method for the majority of thieves

44 The Role of Criminal Receivers
Professional receiver Purchase stolen goods on regular basis for resale May be generalist or specialist Avocational receiver buys stolen property part-time, secondary to but associated with primary business activity The role of criminal receivers Paul Cromwell and colleagues developed a three-part topology of criminal receivers: Professional receivers fit Steffensmeier’s definition of fences – those who purchase stolen goods on a regular basis for resale Avocational receivers are involved in buying of stolen property on a part-time basis continued on next slide

45 The Role of Criminal Receivers
Amateur receiver otherwise honest people who buy stolen property on relatively small scale Amateur receivers are otherwise honest people who buy stolen property on a relatively small scale, primarily for personal use; they make up for lack of volume with sheer numbers

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