Learning About Crime Prevention from Aborted Crimes: Intrapersonal Comparisons of Committed and Aborted Robbery



Crime prevention can benefit from knowledge about why prospective offenders sometimes do not perpetrate crimes they anticipated to perpetrate. What makes them call off the planned offense? This chapter describes what distinguishes aborted robberies from those that are committed; what mechanisms are responsible for calling off planned offenses; and which reasons offenders themselves provide for aborting robberies. Detailed data were collected amongst 74 incarcerated and 28 active offenders. All were asked to describe in detail a robbery they committed and one they aborted, including prospective places, targets, victims, bystanders, and co-offenders. In case of aborted robberies they were also asked why the robbery was canceled. Findings indicate that home robberies are aborted less often than street and commercial robberies, and that robberies planned more than an hour ahead are more likely to get aborted than robberies that were planned less than an hour ahead. Extensive anticipation appears to make offenders less flexible in adapting to unexpected events, and more likely to abort an anticipated robbery. Subjective reasons for aborting anticipated robberies are manifold, but include expected police and bystander interventions.


Robbery Offender interview Aborted crime The Netherlands 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR)AmsterdamNetherlands
  2. 2.Department of Spatial EconomicsNetherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR), Vrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands

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