I recently read an interesting article on some new research that was done at Texas Christian University. Patrick Kinkade is a criminologist at TCU who wanted to know who was more susceptible to theft.
The research was done in an experimental method; something I haven't written much about in this blog. Kinkade got his vehicle dirty and drove it through every full-service car wash in town, each time leaving a large amount of loose change in the vehicle.
He found there was change missing from his car about a third of the times he got his car back.
If you are wondering what Kinkade manipulated to make this a true experiment, it's all about to get interesting. At some of the car washes, Kinkade left an issue of 'Maxim' in the vehicle and crushed beer cans under the seat. According to Kinkade, this was to give the impression that he was somehow deviant. His point was that people who are perceived as being out of the mainstream make themselves more susceptible to crime.
Kinkade proposes that criminals have a thought process that says "I'm a criminal, but so is the person I'm about to steal from, so that makes it okay."
I can agree with Kinkade, but I have trouble believing most criminals think like this. I have to think that criminals do sometimes think like this, but that there are other thought processes that makes them commit crimes. Completely mainstream people are the victims of crime too often for Kinkade's theory to make sense.