skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

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: 68736 Find in a Library
Title: PROPERTY THEFT ENFORCEMENT AND THE CRIMINAL SECONDARY PURCHASER OF STOLEN GOODS
Journal: YALE LAW JOURNAL  Volume:89  Issue:6  Dated:(MAY 1980)  Pages:1225-1241
Author(s): J A SHULMAN
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 17
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: SINCE PROPERTY THEFT IS BOTH COSTLY TO CITIZENS AND HARD TO COMBAT, ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES SHOULD BE SPENT ON APPREHENDING AND DETERRING CITIZENS KNOWINGLY BUYING STOLEN PROPERTY AS WELL AS FENCES AND THIEVES.
Abstract: THE TWO PRESENT MAJOR LAW ENFORCEMENT STRATEGIES AGAINST THEFT ARE THE APPREHENDING OF THIEVES AND THEIR FENCES (THOSE BUYING STOLEN GOODS TO RESELL THEM). HOWEVER, COMBINING THE TWO APPROACHES HAS LITTLE EFFECT ON THE INCIDENCE OF THEFT. CHANNELING STOLEN PROPERTY OFTEN INVOLVES MANY PARTICIPANTS, SOME OF WHOM MAY NOT BE AWARE OF THE PROPERTY'S BEING STOLEN. INVESTIGATING THIEVES ALONE DOES NOT MUCH REDUCE THEFT SINCE THE USUAL LAPSE OF TIME BETWEEN THE THEFT AND INVESTIGATION FAVORS THIEVES, AND THE HUGE MARKET FOR RECEIVING STOLEN PROPERTY REMAINS UNTOUCHED. HOWEVER, ATTEMPTING TO APPREHEND FENCES IS DIFFICULT, AS COMPLAINANTS ARE NOT INVOLVED. INFORMATION MUST THEREFORE COME FROM UNDERCOVER AGENTS OR FROM THIEVES WHO MUST USUALLY BE GRANTED IMMUNITY BEFORE THEY WILL TESTIFY. NEVERTHELESS, COMBATTING THEFT MIGHT BE GREATLY ENHANCED BY CONCENTRATING SOME LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES ON CITIZENS KNOWINGLY PURCHASING STOLEN GOODS FOR CONSUMPTION (SECONDARY PURCHASERS). SINCE THESE PURCHASERS BUY STOLEN GOODS MAINLY BECAUSE THE PRICE IS LOW, IT IS ARGUED THAT THEY SHOULD BE EASIER TO DETER AND DETECT. FURTHER, REDUCING ANY ELEMENT IN THE CHAIN OF STEALING AND DISTRIBUTING STOLEN GOODS AFFECTS THE AMOUNT OF THEFT. HOWEVER, SOME CHANGES IN STATUTES ABOUT RECEIVING AND IN LAW ENFORCEMENT STRATEGY WILL BE NECESSARY. STATUTES HINDERING ENFORCEMENT AGAINST FENCES ALSO HINDER ENFORCEMENT AGAINST SECONDARY PURCHASERS. UNDERCOVER AGENTS POSING AS THIEVES MOST SUCCESSFULLY ENFORCE AGAINST FENCES AND PURCHASERS; STATUTES FOSTERING THESE OPERATIONS ARE DESCRIBED AND SHOULD BE ENACTED WHERE ABSENT. FINALLY, SECONDARY PURCHASERS SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN THE STIFF SENTENCES THAT WOULD ONLY HINDER THEIR BEING PROSECUTED. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED.
Index Term(s): Property crimes; Stolen property recovery; Theft offenses
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=68736

*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.