Criminal expertise and offender decision making: An experimental study of the target selection process in residential burglary

R. Wright, R. H. Logie, Scott Decker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

108 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article reports the results of an experiment designed to explore (a) the environmental cues used by active residential burglars in choosing targets, and (b) the extent to which such offenders possess specialized cognitive abilities (commonly referred to as expertise) that might facilitate this decision-making process. Forty-seven active residential burglars and a matched group of 34 nonoffenders were shown photographs of houses and asked whether the dwellings would be attractive or otherwise to burglars. Subsequently, subjects were given a surprise recognition test where, in some photographs, physical features of the setting had been changed. Results revealed that active residential burglars were significantly better than nonoffenders at recognizing certain 'burglary relevant' environmental changes. Moreover, offenders differed from controls in the mix of environmental cues they employed when selecting targets. These results argue for the importance of acquired expertise in explanations of offender decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-53
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Volume32
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

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Decision Making
Cues
Aptitude
Research Design
Recognition (Psychology)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Criminal expertise and offender decision making : An experimental study of the target selection process in residential burglary. / Wright, R.; Logie, R. H.; Decker, Scott.

In: Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 32, No. 1, 1995, p. 39-53.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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