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Chapter 11

SOC 1500 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Motor Vehicle Theft, Routine Activity Theory, Highwayman

Course Code
SOC 1500
Andrew Hathaway

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Chapter 11: Property Crimes
Basic Patterns:
Criminal activity is motivated by financial gain
Stats Canada indicated that the ratio of property crimes to violent crimes is 1:3
From 2002-2012, there has been a decrease in break ins, property crimes, and motor
vehicle theft
Rate of property crime varies by region lowest in PEI highest in the Prairies
Economic crimes: acts designed to bring financial gain to the offender, as opposed to violent
crimes, which are often conflict related
Fence: a buyer and seller of stolen merchandise
Street crimes: crime related acts that prey on the public through theft, damage, and violence
History of Theft:
11th century the Crusades inspired peasants and noblemen to leave their estates to prey
on passing pilgrims
14th century many highwaymen and poachers were fulltime livestock thieves, stealing
cattle and sheep
15th century hostilities between England and France in the Hundred Years War theft
became more professional with the rise of city and the establishment of a class of urban
18th century 3 groups of property criminals were active > skilled thieves, pick pockets,
forgers, and counterfeiters
Flash houses: in the 18th century, the taverns where skilled thieves and pickpockets congregated
and which served as headquarters for gangs
Modern Thieves
Most property related crimes are committed by occasional criminals who act
opportunistically and are not committed career criminals
Occasional Criminals
Majority of economic crimes are the work of amateur criminals whose decision to steal
is spontaneous and whose acts are unskilled, unplanned, and haphazard
Many theft related crimes are not reported to police
Most school aged youths who commit theft won’t enter a criminal career
According to routine activity theory, occasional property crime occurs when there is a
situational inducement to commit crime
Situational inducement: the opportunity that influences the decision to commit crimes, such as
occasional property crime
Occasional criminal: an offender who does not derive much income from crime but when there’s
an opportunity is more likely to drift in and out of crime
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