Street robbers often carry out their crimes for the thrill as much as for the financial gain, a report has said.
The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) study interviewed 120 offenders in England and Wales.
The report said previous attempts to explain violent street crime put too much focus on the desire for gain, and not enough on the aspect of pleasure.
This is, of course, excellent news because it goes some way to explain why many, many poor people do not commit crimes and why some reasonably well-off people do. It can basically be summed up thusly: some people are shits and some are not.
May I humbly suggest a solution? We all realise that prison is not a perfect solution since many inmates come out more hardened than when they went in. So, I would suggest that a few hours in a public pillory would be sufficient for these people.
It would be extraordinarily cheap, publically humiliating for the criminal, the crowd would be able to glean the facts and judge what items they wished to throw depending on the injuriousness of the case and I'm pretty sure that it would serve as the sharp shock that people desire prison to be but lacking the drawbacks—the increased skill in criminality, the drug use, the institutionalisation and the loss of earnings—of incarceration.
Admittedly, people were occasionally permanently injured whilst in the pillory but, well, some people are permanently injured in muggings. Hey ho! Never mind, eh?
It would also be a great incentive for people to keep a compost heap, so that they could get their fruit and veg really nice and rotten before they threw it at the hideous, violent little scrote in the public square.