- Paperback: 248 pages
- Publisher: Northeastern; Reprint edition (February 15, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1555532713
- ISBN-13: 978-1555532710
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #852,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Burglars On The Job: Streetlife and Residential Break-ins Reprint Edition
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From the Back Cover
Drawing on extensive interviews with 105 active burglars in St. Louis, Missouri, Burglars on the Job presents offenders' perspectives on the process of burglarizing a residence. The authors, Richard T. Wright and Scott H. Decker, consider motivations for the decision to burglarize a dwelling, explore how and why the burglar selects targets, examine how the offender executes the break-in, discuss strategies for searching a residence, and detail the ways in which the burglar disposes of stolen goods. Unlike earlier studies of residential burglary, which collected data from a small number of offenders within a prison environment, this ground-breaking work examines a larger sample of unincarcerated burglars, all identified and contacted without the assistance of criminal justice agencies or authorities. As a result, Wright and Decker were able to obtain more honest and forthright responses from the offenders, and they were able to study the burglars' decision-making processes within the context of streetlife culture. The authors found the offenders' needs to support activities such as drinking and drug-taking often shape the decision to commit a residential break-in, and that burglars rarely consider risks or the threat of sanctions. Burglars on the Job concludes with an insightful discussion that considers the implications of the authors' findings for theories on criminal decision-making, crime prevention policy, and field research.
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The anonymous direct quotes effectively display the self-centered, shallow and delusional thinking behind the burglars’ stated rationales. For example, one participant claimed he would take a legal 9-to-5 job if it paid $55 per hour, as if that would materialize out of thin air for a criminal. Another person admitted that people mainly do drugs because there’s nothing to do. After addiction sets in and repetitive theft becomes a habit, there suddenly is something to do all day, and the distorted system of rewards becomes self-perpetuating.
It’s not fun to plod through some of the academic discussion, but it’s worth it by the end. As expected, there is no happy ending. The authors argue that criminal decision-making must be understood before it can be stopped, but it’s obvious that breaking the cycle of crime is rare or hopeless. The main value of the book is the detailed description of social networks that perpetuate all phases of burglaries. The best advice for the homeowner is to search carefully for a safe neighborhood where these networks never get started.
Other great books about being safe are "In the Gravest Extreme" by Massad Ayoob, "Thank God I had a Gun" by Chris Bird and "The Concealed Handgun Manual" also by Chris Bird.
The most important thing I have learned from these books is individuals that are aware of the threats around them and are prepared to respond are the least likely to be targeted. Criminals want safe easy targets. It is not hard to avoid that defenseless clueless category if you understand the information from these books.