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streetlife and the rewards of auto theft

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Contemporary criminal decision-making theories suggest that offender's subjective assessments of the risks and rewards of crime must be understood within the context of their lives. The lives of most persistent thieves are characterized by an unending pursuit of good times and the expense of all else. The current study examines offenders' perceptions of the rewards of auto theft within the sociocultural context of streetlife. It relies on semi-structured interviews with auto thieves to determine how participation in streetlife facilitates offenders' decisions to engage in motor vehicle theft by providing the motivations for their behaviors. Results indicate that auto theft promotes streetlife by bankrolling their activities, giving the autonomy and freedom to travel at will, extend the excitement achieved from crime, and project an image of someone who has overcome the despair of the streets.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Alabama--Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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