Professor looks into a burglar's mind

RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - She was able to get into the mind of criminals. An Eastern Kentucky University professor delved into questions we all want answers to. What makes a house a target for burglars, and what do thieves want once they get in?

She spent a year and a half in three different states talking to 422 men and women.

"They had all been convicted of burglary or breaking and entering and the purpose was to determine their motivations for their burglaries, their techniques they used and how they selected their targets," explained Dr. Kristie Blevins, "the vast majority entered the homes through open doors and windows. They didn't go through a lot of trouble to get in. They wanted wanted the easy way in."

Only a small amount, Dr. Blevins said, would pick a lock or try to find a key. They relied, instead, on a careless homeowner.

"These burglars reaffirm some of the common sense things that we know and sometimes take for granted."

Once they're in, they don't like to stay. Dr. Blevins says they average about ten minutes searching for items.

"They want cash, that was the number one thing mentioned. The second thing was illegal drugs, and jewelry. Those were important to them, they wanted cash, they wanted drugs, they wanted jewelry. They also looked to lesser degree for electronics. Especially small electronics that they could easily conceal and carry and prescription drugs. The females especially were interested in prescription drugs."

Drugs, Dr. Blevins believes, are a main motivator.

"They wanted drugs or they wanted money. Sometimes they said they wanted to pay bills, other times they said that part of that money was being used to pay for drugs."

And those alarm systems sold with the assurance that they'll deter criminals from coming in?

"Alarms seem to be a huge deterrent for them and we asked them specifically about what types of things deter them. Camera surveillance, that was the number one thing. They didn't like camera surveillance, they didn't like the thoughts of somebody being inside. You know, they wanted a vacant place, they didn't like dogs, they really didn't like alarms."

Dr. Blevins did ask about alarm system signs separate from the actual device - those deterred more female burglars than male.

To read the full study, follow the link below.

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