Wednesday, December 21, 2011

armed robbery

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The broad purpose of the study was to examine situational factors, which lead to armed robbery of targets, and to assist the development of operational strategies to reduce the incidence of armed robbery.

The aim of this report was to examine an offenders perspective of armed robbery, which would then assist in the development of operational strategies to reduce the incidence of armed robbery.

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Data was sourced from personal interviews, records of convicted armed robbers, police officers, and crime prevention strategies programs.

This report addresses prevention strategies, which may be described as `situational, such as increasing the physical security of potential crime targets, examining environmental targets interior design and introducing surveillance strategies.

It was found that different measures would deter separate robbers. An integrated plan of tactic will have the greatest effect on robbery rates.

Further, it is found that situational factors, such as security cameras, security guards, police patrols, pop-up screens and time delay locks play an significant function in averting armed robberies.

A further strategy to prevent an incidence of armed robbery is Police patrols in the vicinity of potential robbery targets and security guards to minimize the risk.


For the purposes of this study, robbery is defined as the `unlawful removal or taking of property or attempted removal or taking of property without consent, by force or threat of force immediately before or after the event (Mukherjee et al. 187, p.). (Appendix 1)

This report discusses robbery in a broad context.

The Robbers

A `typical overview of a robber is

· Australian-born

· Male

· Under 0 years of age

· Come from a relatively large family

· Limited formal education

· Unemployed

· Have little or no formal training in the use of firearms

Eighty per cent of convicted armed robbers have

· Been involved in criminal activity previously

· 40 per cent indicated that they had spent time in a juvenile institution

· 60 per cent said they had served time in prison before

The most cited advantages of robbery over other crimes were

· Dealing in cash

· Quick and easy

· Need for money to support a drug habit

Reasons for involvement in armed robbery were stated as

· An unstable family or bad home

· Crime becoming a way of life

· Having personal problems

· Being depressed, lonely or unable to cope

· Money problems or debts

· Having personal problems

· Robbery being a natural progression from other crime.

(Appendix & )


A profile of a ‘typical’ armed robberies include the following characteristics

· The target of this ‘typical’ robbery is a bank.

· The robbery is carried out between pm and 4pm on a Friday.

· The robber typically lives 0 kms or less away from the target


Armed holdups at financial institutions accounted for 5.5per cent of targets.

Robberies occurred more in Capital cities rather than suburban areas.

48.7 per cent of robberies occurred between and 4 pm.

4 per cent of robberies were carried out alone, while per cent

worked with one other person. The remaining worked with two or more others.

Target Choice

The reasons most given for choosing a target were

· Ease of getting away

· Happening to be in the area

· Familiarity with the area

· Knowing the place that was robbed

· Thinking there would be a lot of money in the place

What They Robbed The Targets

The following are targets most chosen by perpetrators, which are listed in order of popularity

· Bank robberies

· Persons in the street

· Building societies

· Persons at home

· Chemists

· Hotels/bottle shops

· Service stations

· Convenience stores

· Taxi drivers

· Payrolls

· Credit unions

· Post offices

· Laundromats

· Restaurants

· Supermarket


Weapons appear to be an integral part of robbery, being used in

.7 per cent of robberies discussed in this study. Their presence and

threat of use are employed to `convince victims to part with the money or

goods in their possession.


Any single strategy aimed at preventing robbery is unlikely to affect all, or even most offenders. Different measures will deter different robbers. An integrated program of strategies will probably have the greatest effect on robbery rates.

Situational Issues

Situational crime prevention aims to increase the risks and decrease the profits of a specific form of crime, in order to discourage potential offenders.

The following situational factors lay an important role in preventing armed robberies

· Security cameras Security guards

· Police patrols

Target Hardening of areas include such devices as

· Pop-up screens

· Time delay locks

Environmental Management can help prevent potential armed robberies and should take into account the following

· Entrance design

· Teller station or point of sale area design

· Whether male or female staff member

· Staff numbers in offices

· Visibility into offices

· Capacity for the robber to get away


Strategies for reducing the incidence of robbery include

· Corrective prevention

· Punitive prevention

· Mechanical prevention

· Environmental prevention

(Appendix )

Security measures (mechanical prevention) are unlikely to prevent a typical armed robbery as they offender would probably not be aware of the measures beforehand.

Even if the person was aware, offenders may choose to ignore them and commit the offence regardless, depending on the motivation for the robbery (Appendix ).

Environmental prevention techniques may have some deterrent effect with this type of robber, especially when the choice of target is made while `cruising around looking for somewhere to rob

Prevention through increased security is viewed as the most effective way to make a target less appealing for offenders.

The effectiveness of punitive prevention depends on offenders being aware of the length of sentences given for robbery, and on them perceiving imprisonment as a likely and undesirable consequence of involvement (Appendix 4).


This section considers offenders reactions to the security measures commonly found in robbery targets, particularly banks. The security measures to be considered include

· Cameras,

· Pop- up screens

· Bullet resistant glass

· Security cameras

· Alarm systems

· Guards

· Time Delay locks

Most offenders appear not to be deterred from robbing places with cameras and/or alarms installed. This is probably due to the perception that simple measures can be taken to negate the effectiveness of these devices, and that robberies can still be successful even when they are present.

However, this doesnt mean that cameras and alarms are a waste of time. There are a number of ways in which they can have an effect. They obviously have a role in apprehending offenders following a robbery.

Other protective devices such as time delay locks; guards and bullet resistant screens appear to have more of a deterrent effect than do cameras and alarms.

This is probably due to the perception that these devices significantly decrease the chances of a successful robbery.

Another possible consequence of increased security is increased violence in bank robberies. It may be seen that more hostages would be taken, and that there would be more danger for staff and customers. With increased violence comes the possibility of increased harm to staff and customers, both physical and psychological.

Finally, a possible consequence of increased bank security is displacement of robbery onto other, less- protected targets. This is an important consideration when looking at the problem of robbery overall. The extent to which displacement will occur is unknown.

Interviews with offenders confirm that target hardening and surveillance strategies will have an impact on the incidence of bank robbery. However, it is important to bear in mind the possible consequences of these strategies and the cost of installing security devices.

All these strategies are probably best employed as part of an integrated program of prevention measures.


Environmental factors can have an effect on the probability of robbery at a particular target. However, a comprehensive analysis of environmental design features at victimised banks in Australia is needed before useful strategies can be developed.


Three different strategies can be discussed as examples of robbery prevention

· The installation of security cameras

· The use of security guards

· Coordination of police patrols in the area of potential robbery targets

Interviews conducted for this study indicate that cameras do not appear to deter people from robbing where they are installed.

Security guards, on the other hand, apparently would deter many offenders from robbing a particular target. Interview findings are supported by the evaluative research of Hannah (18), which suggests that armed guards are an effective deterrent to robbery. The cost of guards, however, can be quite high, with the possibility also open to violence as a direct result of the use of guards, especially armed guards. It is therefore recommended that cost-effectiveness studies be undertaken.

A further strategy to prevent an incidence of armed robbery is Police patrols in the vicinity of potential robbery targets. Many offenders said a police patrol would deter them from robbing a particular target.

As such, changes in police practice, involving greater emphasis on liaison with the community and presence in the community, would probably help to reduce the incidence of robbery. Police patrols would be most effective at high-risk times and in the vicinity of high-risk targets (Appendix 5).


Different measures were found to deter individual robbers. Therefore an integrated plan of approach to security measures would have the maximum effect on robbery rates.

Situational factors, such as security cameras, security guards, police patrols, pop-up screens and time delay locks all perform an important function in the strategic approach to minimize armed robberies.

Police patrols in the vicinity of potential robbery targets, combined with security guards add risk minimization.

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