Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

?Burglars as skilled as pilots?

Burglars are so good at robbing people’s houses they deserve to be regarded as experts in their field on a par with pilots, scientists have stated.

Psychologists Dr Claire Nee and Amy Meenaghan from the University of Portsmouth interviewed 50 serial burglars. They believe the ability to get into someone’s home and steal valuables while simultaneously listen for noise is a classic example of ‘expertise’ and is on par with those who perform complicated tasks automatically such as musicians, chess players and pilots.

The research revealed that security alarms are not a deterrent for a burglar intent on stealing from a property; burglars prefer residents to be at home asleep as this would ensure valuables such as wallets, handbags and jewellery would be in the house; and the average time for a burglar to be in the property was 20 minutes during which thieves netted goods worth £800.

Most burglars said they did not plan the burglary in advance but headed for an affluent area when they needed cash and then choose their property. Two-thirds knocked on the front door to check whether anyone was home before entering and locked the door once inside the property.

The majority of burglars had a set route once inside the house. They started in the master bedroom and scoured other bedrooms before heading for the living room, dining room and study. Intruders did not enter children’s rooms as they rarely contained valuables and only went into the kitchen if they had time. Burglars said they were mainly looking for credit cards, money or jewellery and took televisions, CD and DVD players and other electrical goods as a bonus on their way out of properties.

“Burglars are expert decision-makers. Based on a combination of cues – wealth, layout, occupancy or security – they decide which property to enter,” Dr Nee said. “Burglars become experienced at getting around a property very quickly with minimum risk and maximum gain. “They navigate around the property using a fixed search pattern or mental map to make sure they get all the desirable goods in the least amount of time.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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