skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 149403 Find in a Library
Title: Burglars on the Job: Streetlife and Residential Break- Ins
Author(s): R T Wright; S H Decker
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 244
Sponsoring Agency: Northeastern University Press
Boston, MA 02115
Publication Number: ISBN 1-55553-185-7
Sale Source: Northeastern University Press
Managing Manager
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Drawing on extensive interviews with 105 active burglars in St. Louis, Missouri, this study presents offenders' perspectives on the process of burglarizing a residence.
Abstract: Unlike earlier studies of residential burglary, which collected data from small numbers of offenders within a prison environment, this ground-breaking work interviewed a larger sample of unincarcerated burglars, who were all identified and contacted without the assistance of criminal justice agencies or authorities. Consequently, the authors believe they were able to obtain more honest and forthright responses from the offenders. They were also able to study the burglars' decisionmaking processes within the context of streetlife culture. The study considers motivations for the decision to burglarize a dwelling, explores how and why the burglar selects targets, examines how the offender executes the break-in, discusses strategies for searching a residence, and details the ways in which the burglar disposes of stolen goods. The authors found that the offenders' need to support activities such as drinking and drug-taking often shape the decision to commit a residential break-in. They also determined the burglars rarely consider risks or the threat of sanctions. The study concludes with a discussion that considers the implications of the authors' findings for theories on criminal decisionmaking, crime prevention policy, and field research. 2 tables, 2 figures, 87 references, and subject index
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Burglary; Burglary causes; Crime specific countermeasures; Criminal methods
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.