Offender's decision making: An assessment of convicted burglars in Thailand




Tititampruk, Dittita

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Burglary represents not only a violation of privacy and theft of private property; it also causes considerable fear, and this is true across the world. Unfortunately, most burglary research is conducted with data for Western countries, and there is especially little comparative research of U.S. and Asian countries, which have different social and cultural contexts. This study draws on the rational choice perspective which argues offenders who are likely to engage in rational decision making processes as they estimate the costs and benefits of committing a given crime. Two central questions guide this study: What considerations Thai offenders have when deciding whether or not to commit crime, and how they choose specific targets. This study addresses these questions using data from interviews with incarcerated residential burglars in Thailand. Data were collected primarily though semi-structured interviews with 45 Thai inmates who had been incarcerated in federal and local correctional institutions around Bangkok and vicinity, and had been convicted of residential burglary at some point in their criminal careers. Interviewees were asked about their own experiences in committing burglaries, including those in which they wanted to commit a burglary but chose not to do so as originally planned. Interviewees were asked to complete a map task to clarify the locations of their targets on a map of Bangkok City. A central focus of the study was the offenders' target selection methodology, and in the study interviewees were explicitly queried as to how they went about identified suitable residential targets for burglary. Special attention was given to the extent to which offenders utilized rational processes to select potential burglary targets, and what environmental conditions and features they used as discriminative cues in the process. Although the findings of this study should be interpreted carefully due to the relatively small sample size of the interviewees, analysis of the study data indicates that both the risks and the rewards of residential burglary influence burglars' target selection. However, when assessing potential residential burglary targets, burglars are significantly more influenced by environmental cues related to risk than by cues related to reward. Most burglars considered some burglary prevention measures such as burglary alarms, neighborhood watch, dogs, and sign of repeat victimization. Important key findings relate to cultural differences in burglars’ target selection and the decision making during the burglary process. For example, most burglars believed in fate and luck when they decided to commit burglary. Gender and age are both important factors causing differences in residential burglars’ decision making about target selection and crime commission. Based on the findings of this study, guidelines that could be useful in the development of various residential burglary prevention initiatives and measures, such as increasing more police patrol, developing job training programs inside prison, and establishing neighborhood watch programs, are put forward for consideration.



Offender's decision making, Residential burglary


Tititampruk, D. (2016). <i>Offender's decision making: An assessment of convicted burglars in Thailand</i> (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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