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“It’s better to be alone than in bad company” – Is it? : Virtual reality comparison of solo and paired burglars

Erber, Julie (2024) “It’s better to be alone than in bad company” – Is it? : Virtual reality comparison of solo and paired burglars.

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Abstract:Most criminological research perceives crimes through the lens of a single victim and a single offender perspective. In reality, law enforcement organisations recognise a high prevalence of crimes committed in groups, particularly burglaries. This study examines the differences between solo and duo offenders in the success and in the moment behaviour of a burglary, as well as how the presence of an accomplice impacts risk perception. Furthermore, respective associations with the HEXACO personality model are investigated. In a virtual reality experiment, 134 students were asked to burgle a house with a partner, and 61 students were asked to burgle the identical house alone. In total, student dyads stole more items, gained higher monetary value, and took more time for the burglary. The presence of an accomplice did not affect the level of perceived risk. As for personality, only a profound analysis of the dyad data revealed that the participant’s extraversion negatively impacts perceived risk in the presence of another. This study showcases important differences in the approach of solo and duo offenders to burglary. Given that dyads spent more time on the burglary, this could signal that dyads willingly take more risks. Further research on co- offending with incarcerated burglars is needed to replicate these findings in a more representative sample and to further explore the role of personality. Consequently, it would be possible to advance researchers’ understanding of how solo and duo burglars behave.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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