Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Street robbery is not just for the money

29.11.2006
Financial gain is far from being the only motivation for violent street robbery in the UK. It is often carried out because of a sheer desire to fight, to put right perceived injustice, to increase "street cred" or even just for "kicks". This emerges from a new study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Both the amount and the severity of gratuitous violence used in street robbery are increasing in the UK, but because the number of studies is very small and tends to be limited to what the precise situation was in each case and whether the assault was likely to lead to financial gain, this worrying social problem is poorly documented and understood.

Now, however, Professor Trevor Bennett, Director of the Centre for Criminology, University of Glamorgan and Dr. Fiona Brookman have provided dramatic insights into the role of street culture in the motivation and enactment of violent street crime. They interviewed 120 offenders, average age 26, of whom one third said they had been arrested 50 times or more. Overall, 92 per cent had used illegal drugs. One third said they were involved in gangs or criminal groups. Over a quarter carried firearms and an additional 35 per cent carried some other weapon, usually a knife.

One offender describes how he spent the money from a recent robbery on good times and partying, buying and using drugs. "I went back to my house to let things cool down before I went back to the pub. Partied the money away and the next day I got arrested."

A second common motive is to use the proceeds from robbery to buy non-essential, status-enhancing items. As one offender reported, owning a certain type of car and cruising slowly in residential areas with the sound system turned up loud was a method of marking their presence and obtaining status on the streets. ".after we done a few armed robberies I bought a brand new car..It's like showing off, really."

Again, robbery is found by some to be a pleasurable activity in its own right. One offender said he was addicted to it. "It weren't even for money. It was just - I had money; it was more like the buzz you get from doing things.. I was more addicted to robbing than I was to drugs. Just get a funny feeling when I go out robbing." One element in the excitement came from overpowering the victim and obtaining dominance.

"It's for the fun. .'Cos the point of street robbery is to get them to fight back, innit? I'd give him a couple of slaps and tell him to fight back, yeah. If he won't fight back, we just give him a kick and go."

Robberies can also be prompted by anger and the desire to start a fight, with cash being taken only as an afterthought. Here the level of violence used is often beyond that required to secure the victim's compliance. "I picked a fight with someone on the street. They were the first people I come across. . I started hitting one of them and calling him names and said, 'What are you looking at?' and stuff like that. Then I can't remember how but I started hitting him and then I just jumped on him. Punched him, turned him over, went through his pockets."

Finally, some robberies were committed as a kind of informal justice in which the offender felt he or she had righted some wrong done to them.

Overall, some kind of drugs connection was mentioned in 60 per cent of all robberies reported.

"I was walking down the street and I saw this boy and girl walking along, like. I grabbed her handbag and grabbed his phone off him and run off. I was desperate for crack."

The interview database gives ample scope for further analysis. Meanwhile, Professor Bennett says, "The decision to commit street robbery can be explained in part by particular characteristics of the street culture. This finding is important because British research has tended to explain robbery in terms of rational choice and to focus instead on the role of cost-reward calculations. Our research suggests that any explanation must primarily take into account cultural factors associated with life on the street."

Annika Howard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk
http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>