Vehicle Crime, CPTED, and Offending under the Influence: A Qualitative Investigation of Offender Perceptions
- Do offenders under the influence of drugs or alcohol seem to perceive opportunities and risks of committing vehicle crime differently to those whose offending is unrelated to drugs and alcohol?
- If there are variations in how dependent offenders perceive opportunities and risks of committing vehicle crime, what do these relate to?
Aggravated Vehicle Taking—when a motor vehicle is stolen and driven dangerously.Theft from a Motor Vehicle—when property is stolen from a motor vehicle.Theft or Unauthorised Taking of a Motor Vehicle—when a motor vehicle is stolen.Interfering with a Motor Vehicle—when a motor vehicle is interfered with or it is unclear if attempts were made to steal something from the vehicle or to steal the vehicle itself.
2.1. Risk versus Reward Calculations
- Dwayne: you see, they’d risk that coz they’d be under the influence of drugs, so they’d go in there. But if that was me then I wouldn’t go into that one [car park at location 1]. I’d just leave that and say: ‘it’s not worth my while’ unless it was… it’s just the camera mate.
- Interviewer: do you think someone could do it [commit a vehicle offence] here [location 1]?Lawrence (DA): yeah, quite easily.Interviewer: go on …Lawrence (DA): anyone can do it anywhere. It depends how desperate you are innit? And that’s it.Interviewer: yeah? but like here you mentioned thatLawrence (DA): yeah it is pretty safe but it’s still … y’know what I mean? If, say for instance a drug addict were gonna do it and they needed to get a fix, they ain’t gonna care. They’d still do it no matter how blatant it would be.
2.2. The Presence of Opportunity
- Don (DA): The biggest thing that’s gonna make someone steal from a car is them seeing something in that car because some people are that desperate that they don’t care what time of day it is, who’s about or whatever. They’re that desperate because they need it [drugs/alcohol] they’ll … if they see something in that car, they’ll break into it.
- Craig (DA): I worked for him, so the keys were in the office.
- Interviewer: yeah? and so you just thought
- Craig (DA): I thought I’d take the van until I get paid but obviously I was drunk like. I was summin’ like six or seven or eight times over the limit when they breathalysed me so obviously … but I’d hit a few things as well so … I wrote the van off.
- Paul: you go and check it out yourself. You don’t … you don’t just go there and do the crime there and then.
- Sacha: you’ll go there [the] day before if it’s like … if it’s a … if it’s a little car, you’ll go there before, and you’ll have a quick look around. If it’s a big car for big money, you’ll look around a week … you’ll see … you know you’ll do set timings, set routines, which way the guy … like if you’ve got a target then that’s that car … you’ll see how he’ll go, where he’ll go, his timing, what he’ll do … if you’re takin’ it.
2.3. Dependence and Perceptions of Repeat Victimisation
- Mark (DA): We’ve got our 5 grand [five thousand pounds]. My reaction’s gonna be like that’s a big party that … that’s my drugs, drink, whatever
- Interviewer: yeah,
- Mark (DA): you then say ‘shit, we’re out of money’… well then, the next day, we knew there was a nice car sitting next door and we think: ‘wow, that’s an easy picking’, I’ll clear the house and take the car.
- Lawrence (DA): they did leave them open and they’d be money in there so like if I was on that estate I’d go to all them ones first and it used to pay off a lot. Y’know what I mean?
- Interviewer: yeah. So, when you were doing that was there any need to go anywhere else?
- Lawrence (DA): not really, no. Once I got enough money to get my gear [drugs], I’d go.
- Darren: we never had an exact number coz you can never go to the same areas. It’d always
- Interviewer: because?
- Darren: because say you’d stolen from there, everyone in that area’d know
2.4. Converged Perceptions of the Built Environment
- Aaron: [about location 4] probably a bit safer coz it … it looks like a better area.Interviewer: right, ok.Aaron: bigger houses … people would probably be a bit more … I can imagine people being a bit more nosey or … I see a caravan there. There might be old people that are in all the time. Ermm … I’d probably say it’s a bit safer.
- Don (DA): I don’t know whether they’d be anything really in these cars [in location 2] because it doesn’t look like a very affluent area but then again students sometimes leave laptops and things like that. It could be student accommodation because it looks like flats ermm … so I’d say that would be the easiest there if there was anything in view in the cars.
- Sacha: [about location 3] You see cars like this, you won’t take. You need something like Range Rovers; they’re good money—Range Rovers.
- Phil: [about location 4] work vans … a lot of guys who’ve turned [a]round and predominantly steal tools... which is a major thing and also, vans are, or used to be, quite the commodity because vans are very easy to strip down. You can buy a van quite cheaply, have an engine fitted from a stolen vehicle, and they’re not as hard as you think
2.5. The Wider Context for Drug and Alcohol Related Vehicle Crime
- Alex: I’d say below me I’ve got the little bag-rats, for want of a phrase, that I used to speak to and say: “look, I need this car, in this colour”.
- Interviewer: can you just like describe to me what is involved in that description?
- Alex: ok a bag-rat is somebody who’s a heavy drug-taker
- Interviewer: right.
- Alex: who’ll do next to anything for drugs. So, what we used to do is we used to give them a little black box ermm … and then we’d just say: “keep that black box on you. Keep your phone on ya”. We’d phone up and say, for example: “we need a blue whatever … a blue Transit van; yeah? Go and get me a blue Transit van on a 2016 plate. Phone me when you’ve done it!”
4. Materials and Methods
4.2. The Qualitative Interview
4.3. Methodological Limitations
Conflicts of Interest
|Number||Age||Number of Vehicle Crime Convictions||TFMV||TOMV||AVT||IWMV||Stealing for Financial Gain||Involved in Organised Crime||Drug or Alcohol Issues (at the Time of Offending)|
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Quinn, A. Vehicle Crime, CPTED, and Offending under the Influence: A Qualitative Investigation of Offender Perceptions. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 88. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8030088
Quinn A. Vehicle Crime, CPTED, and Offending under the Influence: A Qualitative Investigation of Offender Perceptions. Social Sciences. 2019; 8(3):88. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8030088Chicago/Turabian Style
Quinn, Anthony. 2019. "Vehicle Crime, CPTED, and Offending under the Influence: A Qualitative Investigation of Offender Perceptions" Social Sciences 8, no. 3: 88. https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8030088