Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Street robbery is not just for the money

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:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>