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Burglars On The Job: Streetlife and Residential Break-ins Paperback – Feb 15 1996

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Northeastern; Revised ed. edition (Feb. 15 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555532713
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555532710
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,394,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Richard Wright and Scott Decker . . . have made a milestone contribution to the understanding of residential burglary. . . If the enterprising spirit of this study were to be taken as a model for studying other forms of street crime, we would enjoy a major leap forward in criminological knowledge." —Contemporary Sociology

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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars 13 reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sobering view of burglar methods April 6 2012
By Jim - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book on the recommendation from a defensive hand gun forum. It is a sobering look at how burglars choose, enter and pick items to steal. The researchers paid active criminals to discuss their methods and motivation. Most of the study subjects had never been arrested or served time for burglary. The authors discuss methodology of verifying and cross checking stories. The book reads like a research paper, not a novel. I believe I'm more likely to avoid attracting a burglar after reading this book. No offense, but I'd rather my neighbors get picked to be ripped off than my home. I now have more information to encourage thieves to walk on by.

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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Into the mind of a criminal?? April 2 2015
By Darren Teale - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are into home protection, security or criminology it is a dry read full of facts and figures. Having been in the security industry for over twenty years some chapters lined up perfectly with my observations and others were a case of that makes sense. This book is one of the better insights into how a thief things. Although I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone if you are in the security industry you might just find it interesting enough to get through it. There was just enough interesting insights to keep me reading.
Darren Teale
Security Consultant.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Were They Thinking? Well, Now You Know! Nov. 23 2013
By LoveThatRonWhite - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'd like to see a follow-up on this, with new research -- would make a good documentary. I keep looking at my property from a burglar's perspective now. This book makes that possible. Not only a sociological study, this has practical applications. It's a little depressing to witness the mind-sets behind the behaviors, but that's reality. Recommend!
4.0 out of 5 stars Burglars, sadly, are stupid people :( June 10 2013
By Lord Jeffrey of Starbucky - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I got this with the hopes of reading true stories of thieves doing interesting things, kind of like true crime. Sadly, it's story after story of mostly dumb criminals who steal to keep up their drug habits :) Not the author's fault, he wrote an accurate book. I only gave it 4 stars because of the academic writing style, but the data in the book is great.
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars May 25 2015
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mostly of interest to sociologists.