In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Street Robbery

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews

Criminology Street Robbery
Richard Wright, Scott Jacques
  • LAST REVIEWED: 14 December 2009
  • LAST MODIFIED: 14 December 2009
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0060


Street robbery can be defined as the theft of property accomplished through force or threat of force in an outdoor, noncommercial setting. This definition excludes other forms of property theft, such as those accomplished with fraud only. It also excludes robberies committed in locations such as residences, banks, convenience stores, or any other business establishment. Further, this definition excludes other acts of violence that occur in outdoor, noncommercial locations but do not involve property confiscation, such as assaults. This bibliography reviews some of the general treatments, data sources, research, theories, and prevention efforts centered on street robbery. It concludes by examining the relationship between street robbery crime and selected special topics.

General Overviews

General overviews of street robbery are scarce. However, there are a few resources that are useful in obtaining a broad and deep overview of street robbery. Conklin 1972 uses official statistics and interviews to examine robbery. Similarly, Matthews 2002 employs interviews with robbers and police officers to generate knowledge about the crime. Smith 2003 provides a comprehensive look at personal robbery in England and Wales. Wright and Decker 1997, a micro-oriented study of armed robbers, explores their motivations, strategies for target selection, and methods of enactment.

  • Conklin, John E. 1972. Robbery and the criminal justice system. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

    The classic general treatment of robbery. Based on police, court, and prison records plus interviews with robbery victims and incarcerated robbers, examines robbery trends, types of robbery offenders, the use of force, and criminal justice responses to the offense.

  • Matthews, Roger. 2002. Armed robbery. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

    Draws on interviews with more than three hundred armed robbers, as well as interviews with police units responsible for investigating armed robberies. Examines the motivation for and enactment of such offenses, weapons use, and criminal justice responses.

  • Smith, Jonathan. 2003. The nature of personal robbery. Home Office Research Study 254. London: Home Office.

    An in-depth look at robbery, including the characteristics of suspects and victims, the nature of robbery events, and an overview of other statistics relevant to the crime.

  • Wright, Richard, and Scott H. Decker. 1997. Armed robbers in action: Stick-ups and street culture. Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press.

    Based on interviews with currently active street robbers, examines the entire robbery commission process from the offenders’ perspective, from initial motivation to escaping from the scene. Concludes that robbery is promoted and sustained by an intense commitment to the norms and values of street culture.

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