The ‘oldest tricks in the book’ don’t work! Reports of burglary by DUMA detainees in Western Australia

14 Oct 2014


Research investigating the methods and motivations of burglars has typically focused on incarcerated offenders. The Australian Institute of Criminology’s Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program provided an opportunity for the authors to explore the methods and motivations of those actively involved in committing burglaries, whether or not they had actually been caught or detained for that offence.

The findings support Routine Activity Theory, indicating that offenders consider a number of factors in determining whether a property will be targeted for a break and enter offence. As might be expected, opportunistic burglars choose easy to access properties, stay a minimum length of time and take goods that can be disposed of easily. It was concluded that simple prevention strategies could minimise the risk of becoming a victim of opportunistic burglary, which also has implications for law enforcement, the security industry and insurance agencies.

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