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Chapter 11

Property Crimes

A Brief History of Theft

Economic crimes: acts in violation of the criminal law designed to bring financial reward Skilled thieves: typically worked in larger cities and congregated in flashouses Smugglers: moved freely in the sparsely populated areas and dealt in spirits, gems, gold, and spices Poachers lived in the country taking game that belonged to a landlord

Modern Thieves

Occasional Criminals Most crime committed by amateurs whose acts are unskilled, and unplanned Occasional crime occurs when there is a situational inducement Frequency of occasional crime varies according to age, class, race, and gender Occasional criminals have little group support for the crimes

Modern Thieves

Professional Criminals Make a significant portion of their income from crime. Professionals do not rationalize their criminality Pursue their craft to make the most money with the least amount of risk

Modern Thieves

Sutherlands Professional Criminal Professional thieves engage in limited types of crime Exclusive use of wits, front (demeanor), and talking ability Must acquire status in the profession Pickpocket (cannon) Thief in rackets related to confidence games Forger Extortionist from those engaging in illegal acts Confidence game artists Thief who steals from hotel rooms Jewel thief who substitutes fake gems for real (pennyweighter) Shoplifter (booster) Sneak thief from stores, banks, and offices (heel)

Modern Thieves

The Professional Fence Earns a living buying and reselling stolen merchandise May operate through legitimate business fronts Fences use complex pricing policy

Modern Thieves

The Nonprofessional Fence Often legitimate business people who integrate stolen merchandise part-time Associational fences: barter stolen goods for services Neighborhood hustlers: buy and sell part-time and keep some merchandise for themselves Amateur receivers: strangers approached in a public place with a great deal on valuable commodities

Larceny/Theft

The trespassory taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with intent to steal Constructive possession: refers the legal fiction that applies in situations in which persons voluntarily and temporarily give up custody of their property (i.e. watch repair)

Larceny/Theft

Larceny Today Petty larceny involves small amounts of money or property Grand larceny involves greater values of property punishable by imprisonment Larceny/theft is the most common of all crimes (7 million acts in 2003)

Larceny/Theft

Shoplifting taking of goods from a retail store Boosters: professional shoplifters (Mary Owen Cameron) Snitches: amateur shoplifters who steal for themselves Criminologists view shoplifters as likely to reform

Larceny/Theft

Controlling Shoplifting Fewer than 10 percent are detected by store employees Merchant privilege laws protect retailers from lawsuits Target removal strategies: involve dummy or disabled goods for display Target hardening strategies: involve locking racks or displays such as EAS systems (situational deterrents)

Larceny/Theft

Bad Checks Knowingly and intentionally drawn on nonexistent or underfunded bank account Edwin Lemert classified check forgers as: Nave check forgers: are amateurs who have a pressing need for money Systematic forgers: make a substantial living passing bad checks Often it is difficult to separate the true check forger from the neglectful shopper

Larceny/Theft

Credit Card Theft Approximately $1.8 billion per year lost to stolen or fake credit cards To combat losses Congress passed a law in1971 limiting losses to $50 Use of bogus Internet sites to obtain credit card numbers Digital signatures and digital keys are an attempt to reduce credit card theft

Larceny/Theft

Auto Theft Approximately 1.2 million in 2003 Types of Auto Theft Joyriding: motivated by a desire for power or prestige Short-term transportation: similar to joyriding Long-term transportation: Intend to keep vehicles for personal use Profit: motivated by the hope for profit Commission of another crime: vehicle taken for use in the commission of a crime for anonymity Luxury cars and SUVs most in demand Vehicles are frequently shipped abroad where they command higher prices

Larceny/Theft

Carjacking: legally considered a form of robbery Victims and offenders tend to be Black Urban residents most likely to experience carjacking Committed in groups and often in the evening Combating Auto Theft Situational crime prevention efforts (HEAT) Lojack systems utilize a tracking device Public campaigns to lock vehicles Closed-circuit TV cameras

Larceny/Theft

False Pretenses or Fraud Misrepresenting a fact to gain property Victims willingly give up their money or property Does not require a trespass

Larceny/Theft

Confidence Games Getting a person interested in get-rich-quick schemes (Mark) Most common forms are pigeon drops Con artist may pose as bank employees Pyramid schemes involve the selling of phony franchises Shady contractor repairs

Larceny/Theft

Embezzlement Occurs when someone who is trusted with property fraudulently converts it for his or her own use Number of people arrested for embezzlement has increased over the last two decades More employees are willing to steal from employers More employers are willing to report embezzlement Law enforcement officials are more willing to prosecute

Burglary

Legal definition has undergone considerable change Common law required breaking and entering and at night Recent laws have discarded forced entry and eliminated nighttime requirement

Burglary

The Nature and Extent of Burglary NCVS reports about 3.3 million residential burglaries in 2003 Residential Burglary: Experienced burglars tend to avoid rental properties and willing to travel to find rich targets Commercial Burglary : Business are quick sources of merchandise that can be easily sold

Burglary

Careers in Burglary Good burglars must learn many skills to be lucrative Must be able to team-up with trustworthy companions Must have inside information Must cultivate fences and buyers Neal Shover suggests a person becomes a good burglar by learning techniques of the trade from experienced burglars

Burglary

The Burglary Career Ladder Paul Cromwell, James Olson, and DAunn Wester suggest burglars go through stages of development: Novices (learning the trade) Journeyman (lucrative targets and careful planning) Professional (advanced skills)

Burglary

Repeat Burglary Research suggests many burglars return to strike the same victim Less effort to burgle a suitable target Aware of targets layout Entry/escape target has not changed Lack of protective measures (alarms, etc.) Goods were observed in first strike

Arson

The willful, malicious burning of a home, public building, vehicle, or commercial building (71,000 in 2003) To obtain money during a period of financial crisis To get rid of outdated or slow-moving inventory To destroy outmoded machines and technology To pay off legal an illegal debts To relocate or remodel a business To take advantage of government funds To plan bankruptcies To eliminate business competition To employ extortion schemes To conceal another crime

Arson

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