2004 Volume 31 Issue 2 Pages 153-167
In this study, the process of burglars' specialisation was examined. 15 sub-categories of burglaries committed by 3,066 burglars were analysed, using a thematic approach. The result of an SSA-I showed that four themes existed in the structure of burglary: ‘residential’, ‘commercial’, ‘public’, and ‘industrial/storage’, Also it was found that ‘residential’ and ‘commercial’ burglaries were the most distinct from each other, providing for two dominant foci for burglaries. The results of POSA also confirmed that most burglars specialised in either ‘residential’ or ‘commercial’ burglaries. Few were specialised in ‘public’ or ‘industrial/storage’ burglaries. In addition, the number of people who specialised in commercial burglaries decreased with the increase of burgling experiences. The psychological processes underlying burglars' specialisation in one theme, or shift from one to another, are discussed. This study shows that the thematic approach offers a method of studying the multidimensional nature of burglars' psychological processes of specialisation.