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UCR definition

the unlawful taking carrying leading or riding away of property from the possession or constructive possession of another
does not involve force or other means of illegal entry
stealing cars, pick pocketing

Shoplifting and Employee Theft

-employee theft causes more loss to retailers than shoplifting
-efforts to combat shoplifting may affect sales
technology is one of the best ways to address both types of theft
shoplifting crosses class lines

Who Shoplifts

Juveniles are overrepresented
-lower income youths more likely to shoplift
-social class/shoplifting relationships stronger in adults but found in juveniles as well
some research supports "maturing out" pattern for juvenile shoplifting


UCR def: the unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or theft
use of force not required
forcible entry
attempted forcible entry
unlawful entry

the social ecology of burglary

-more common in large metropolitan areas, southern US
-lifestyle and routine activities theories explain variations in burglary over time
-technological advances have increased the number of suitable targets available to burglars

Residential Burglary

-independent of race, the highest and lowest income households have the highest victimization rate
-high income households are targeted because they are believed to have items of special value
-low income households are targeted because of ease of access

Costs of Burglary

-economic loss very common in burglary
-property/money stolen
- time lost from work
-property crimes have greater effect on the decision to move than violent crime

Motor Vehicle Theft

-UCR-theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle
-automobiles are the most commonly-stolen type of vehicle
- highly-reported crime, especially completed thefts
-largest percentage of vehicles stolen from parking lot or garage
-significant percentage stolen at or near residence of victim

Theft of Car Parts

-harder to identify than entire cars
1984 motor vehicle theft law enforcement act requires major sheet metal parts of high theft automobiles to be marked with vins

Joyriders: Car theft for Fun

-committed by groups of teens for fun
-expressive act with little/no extrinsic value
-most vehicle recovered, usually, abandoned, often after a crash

Professional Auto Thieves

most serious and costly form of auto theft
-less common than thefts for other uses
-planning and calculation involved in target selection
-lowest auto recovery rates
only small part of vehicle theft problem


UCR: any willful or malicious burning or attempting to burn, with or without attempt to defraud, a dwelling house, public building, motor vehicle or aircraft
involving structures is the most common
more likely to involve juveniles than any other major crime

Fire setters

-juveniles more involved in both residential and commercial arson than adults
Types of juvenile setters
-children under 7: start fires accidentally or out of curiosity
-children 8-12: underlying psychosocial conflicts
-children 13-18: have history of fire setting. usually undetected

Professional criminal

makes a living from criminal pursuits, is recognized by other offenders as professional, an engages in offering that is planned and calculated

Persistent thief

one who continues in common-law property crimes despite no better than an ordinary level of success

occasional offender

a criminal offender whose offending patterns are guided primarily by opportunity

stages of criminal career of property offenders

-break in period
-stable period
-burnout period

Property offenders and rational choice

rationality: activities identified by their impersonal methodological, efficient, and logical components
-burglars employ rationality but it is partial and limited not total

types of burglars

-low level
-middle range
-high level

Burglary locales

-nightime residential and daytime commercial burglary are considered most serious
-a larger percentage of residential burglaries take place in the daytime
-burglary is a "cold crime"
-little physical evidence to link to offender to the crime
- the crime is often not discovered until long after it takes place

Target selection

commercial burglar: reatail establishment
-merchandise is exposed, new and high in resale, little intrusion time
Information from tipster
Target rarely chosen impulsviely
-signs of occupancy
-security devices
-same area as burglar's residence


-need for cash
-"crime of choice"
familiar, less risky than other offenses, no need for equipment for robbery
-a small number commit crime for excitement rather than for money

Burglary-Drug Connection

increased demand for crack cocaine in 1980s affected crime rates
-burglary decreased, robbery increased
Offenders using crime to fund drug habits need to rely on crimes that produce quick cash
-burglary is more likely to result in stolen goods rather than cash

Workers in stolen property

-darrel steffensmeler defines a fence as one who "purchases stolen goods both on a regular basis and for resale"
-has direct conatct with theives, engages in the buying and selling of stolen goods regularly and persistently, and is a public dealer

role of criminal receivers

-professional receiver
-avocational receiver
-amateur receiver

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