+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ PDF Full Text
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Simply criminal: predicting burglars' occupancy decisions with a simple heuristic

Simply criminal: predicting burglars' occupancy decisions with a simple heuristic

Law and Human Behavior 35(4): 316-326

Rational choice theories of criminal decision making assume that offenders weight and integrate multiple cues when making decisions (i.e., are compensatory). We tested this assumption by comparing how well a compensatory strategy called Franklin's Rule captured burglars' decision policies regarding residence occupancy compared to a non-compensatory strategy (i.e., Matching Heuristic). Forty burglars each decided on the occupancy of 20 randomly selected photographs of residences (for which actual occupancy was known when the photo was taken). Participants also provided open-ended reports on the cues that influenced their decisions in each case, and then rated the importance of eight cues (e.g., deadbolt visible) over all decisions. Burglars predicted occupancy beyond chance levels. The Matching Heuristic was a significantly better predictor of burglars' decisions than Franklin's Rule, and cue use in the Matching Heuristic better corresponded to the cue ecological validities in the environment than cue use in Franklin's Rule. The most important cue in burglars' models was also the most ecologically valid or predictive of actual occupancy (i.e., vehicle present). The majority of burglars correctly identified the most important cue in their models, and the open-ended technique showed greater correspondence between self-reported and captured cue use than the rating over decision technique. Our findings support a limited rationality perspective to understanding criminal decision making, and have implications for crime prevention.

(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 055783008

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 20556493

DOI: 10.1007/s10979-010-9238-0

Related references

Bungling burglars and criminal capers. Dental Economics - Oral Hygiene 79(9): 45-47, 1989

An investigation into the differentiating characteristics between car key burglars and regular burglars. Journal of Forensic Sciences 57(4): 939-945, 2012

Is the inherence heuristic simply WEIRD?. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37(5): 481-481, 2015

Complicating decisions: The work ethic heuristic and the construction of effortful decisions. Journal of Experimental Psychology. General 145(7): 807-829, 2016

Heuristic methods in the structure of decisions. Heuristic Methods in The Structure Of Decisions 231, 1970

The sex matching heuristic in employment decisions. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society 24(1): 47-50, 1986

Multi-criminal and violent groups among child sex offenders: a heuristic typology in a 2-year cohort of 374 men in two English counties. Child Abuse & Neglect 24(4): 579-586, 2000

The normalization heuristic: an untested hypothesis that may misguide medical decisions. Medical Hypotheses 72(6): 745-748, 2009

Human and nature-caused hazards: the affect heuristic causes biased decisions. Risk Analysis 34(8): 1482-1494, 2015

Making difficult health policy decisions: most choices are not simply life or death. Ajr. American Journal of Roentgenology 165(6): 1329-1330, 1995

End-of-life decisions for extremely low-gestational-age infants: why simple rules for complicated decisions should be avoided. Seminars in Perinatology 38(1): 31-37, 2014

Simply not simple. Journal of the American Dental Association 131(8): 1106, 1108-1106, 1108, 2000

New connections between medical knowledge and patient care. Human condition is full of decisions that aren't simple yes/no decisions. Bmj 315(7118): 1309-1310, 1997

PathMiner: predicting metabolic pathways by heuristic search. Bioinformatics 19(13): 1692-1698, 2003

"Anesthesia is Awfully Simple or Simply Awful". Journal of the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology 7(8): 14-15, 1960