Studying deterrence with active residential burglars

Alex Piquero, George F. Rengert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Research designed to test deterrence/rational choice theory has contributed much to the knowledge of sanction threats, and the extent to which they are used in individuals' decision-making processes. The accumulation of knowledge ahout such perceptions among active and incarcerated offenders has surfaced only in recent years. We identified and interviewed active residential burglars to examine how they take into consideration the perceptions of risks and rewards before committing a burglary. Employing a series of estimation techniques which have not yet been used to study this research question, we find that offenders arc influenced by the perceptions of both risk and rewards, though the latter are a stronger predictor of the decision to engage in a residential burglary. Theoretical implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-471
Number of pages21
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes

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