University of Portsmouth carries out research into burglars

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EXPERIENCED burglars are expert at taking systematic, predictable routes around homes they are stealing from, according to new research.

Dr Claire Nee, of the University of Portsmouth, ran a study piloting two new methods in which burglars and non-burglars were asked to conduct a mock burglary.

The experiments were to shed light on the thought processes of offenders.

Dr Nee said: ‘It sounds obvious that people who have been jailed for committing serial burglaries are experts at stealing, but we didn’t have any understanding of what exactly they do or don’t do which sets them apart from novices. We didn’t know how they think or the way they approach the job of stealing.’

Dr Nee and colleagues tested six serial offenders and six people with no criminal records in two separate tests.

Dr Nee said: ‘As expected, the burglars were much more efficient, systematic and persistent than the novices.

‘Through deliberate practice and repeated exposure to the layout of houses, burglars can automatically recognise which are the high-value areas of the house.’

Burglars spent more than twice the amount of time than novices in downstairs rooms.