New research reveals burglars have changed their 'shopping list'

Feb 10, 2010

Globalisation, and particularly cheaper electronic goods from China and the Far East, has altered behaviour among Britain's burglars according research in progress at the University of Leicester.

James Treadwell, a lecturer in Criminology from the University of Leicester's Department of Criminology suggests that the incredible rise of the new superpower has made burglars 'redundant' due to the decline in cost of household goods traditionally targeted by thieves.

Treadwell is currently researching how has changed over time. He commented:

"The last decade has been a remarkable one where crime is concerned, with massive changes and shifts. If we look back to the 1980s and 1990s, the type of staple crimes would be, for example, very often burglary and car crime and those crimes worked because they followed a business model and it was possible to break into a house and steal a and sell that at a profit.

"Cheap labour in China has had an impact on the type of crime that's committed in the UK and the type of goods that are stolen today. Gradually, the prices of such goods has fallen so low as to they almost have no resale value. If you can buy a DVD player for £19.99, it's simply not worth stealing."

Treadwell will be presenting his findings of the changes in criminal trends at the British Society of Criminology conference that will be held at the University of Leicester in July. The theme of the conference is 'Human Rights, Human Wrongs: Dilemmas and Diversity in Criminology' and Treadwell will be discussing the changes in criminal practices over the last decade.

He comments:

"While we might have seen a decline in some types of crime, we have seen a rise in other forms of criminal activity, particularly young people who seem to be mugging one another.

"While DVD players for example, got cheaper, certain consumer items became smaller and were very, very expensive and sought after and so the latest mobile phone, or the latest ipod, which people carry about them, have become targets for robbers."

It is these expensive, personal items, which are the most attractive to thieves today as they still retain value and can therefore be sold on, igniting a career change for criminals from the more traditional household burglaries to personal muggings.

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frajo
2.7 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2010
Obviously, too steep gradients in the distribution of wealth generate crime.
That's why too steep gradients in the distribution of wealth should be considered a crime, too.
gwrede
3 / 5 (2) Feb 10, 2010
@frajo: Yes. But someone having an iPhone or an iPod when the other hasn't, doesn't need a steep wealth gradient.

Further, a society where the difference between the rich and the poor is artificially reduced (as with income tax and property tax favoring the poor and punishing the better earners), is a major hindrance to economic motivation and activity.
frajo
2.7 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2010
But someone having an iPhone or an iPod when the other hasn't, doesn't need a steep wealth gradient.
It's not about having an iPhone, it's about the monetary value.
Further, a society where the difference between the rich and the poor is artificially reduced (as with income tax and property tax favoring the poor and punishing the better earners), is a major hindrance to economic motivation and activity.

Depends on personal ideology. Other people see "economic motivation" as an unhealthy principle. This motivation has generated a lot of pain and crime throughout history.

And how is "artificial" defined? Like in artificial hearts, in glasses, in teeth?
Dunbar
3 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2010
@gwrede

What? Like in Finalnd, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, etc... Social Democracy with smaller differences in wealth distribution is NOT a hinderance to 'economic motivation and activity'. I guess you're a Fox News absorber.
david_42
5 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2010
The vast majority of crimes are committed against people at or near the social/economic level of the criminal. Even murderers are most likely to kill within their family, circle of friends or neighborhood.

Bankers, in turn, steal from other bankers.