Doran, Glen (2018) Maturity and Experience in Domestic Burglar Crime Scene Behaviour. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.
Abstract

Domestic burglars have presented a motivational mixture of acquisitive gain and interpersonal transaction but have often been differentiated by levels of perceived competence, acknowledging skills accrued through experience, often in neglect of the psychological underpinnings. In parallel, McAdams (1997) stressed the experiential nature of personal narratives, suggesting that a psychological and behavioural development could be tracked across offending histories. Offender narratives research however, has often centred on single crimes or brief periods of offending and has yet to fully address developmental processes. The thesis therefore, examined how levels of maturity, quantitative and qualitative aspects of previous offending and previous domain-specific experience affected development in domestic burglar behaviours, within a framework of narrative-based behavioural themes. Behaviours recorded by police in 673 solved domestic burglaries were utilized, together with the burglars’ prior offending records.

Extensive Smallest space analysis revealed that for maturity, the adaptive theme was dominant, particularly in younger burglars, while the less task-focused expressive theme increased in percentage in older offenders. This was opposite to the linear, novice-to-expert ascension anticipated in experience- based typologies. Domestic burglary experience prompted expediency in adaptive offenders, continually developing aptitude in conservatives, but no form of development in expressives. Maturity produced a small degree of age-related behavioural change, while burglary experience led to perceptual and procedural developments, within task-focused themes only. Experience did not correlate with maturity, resulting in the conclusion that previous allusions to experience had in truth, been differentiations in narrative roles, the dominant behavioural influencer. This revised interpretation of behavioural development held substantial implications for the understanding of domestic burglar behaviour, and the effects of maturity and experience. Equally, the thesis presented a valuable fresh insight into domestic burglary narrative roles, which remained consistent with McAdams’ developmental framework.

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