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The Routine Activity Robber: Learnings from a total study of cash-in-transit robberies and opportunity structures
Swedish National Defence College, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), CRISMART (National Center for Crisis Management Research and Training).
2015 (English)In: The Stockholm Criminology Symposium: Program & Abstracts 2015 / [ed] Brottsförebyggande rådet, Stockhom, 2015, 162-162 p.Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

With this total study it is shown how opportunity structures influence criminals in the case of cash-in-transit (CIT) robberies. Sweden was one of the countries hit hardest by robberies of CITs in the early 2000s, in relationship to the population. Robbers, often armed with automatic weapons and explosives, could get away with lots of money, with the justice system initially unable to stabilize the situation.

Likely offenders saw suitable targets and the lack of capable guardians, as discussed by the Routine Activity Theory. This applies to the situation in Sweden in the late 1990s when robbers moved away from bank robberies and chose CITs for their relatively lower safety (lack of capable guardians) and the higher amount of money available (suitable targets). It also explains how the target hardening processes strengthened the security of banks and CITS, respectively, hence making them less suitable targets. This displacement effect once again showed in 2007-2008, with a brief spike of bank robberies, when the robbers moved away from the CITs.

The total study provides an overview of every CIT/cash depot robbery in Sweden since the late 1990s. By mapping out these aggravated robberies, it offers knowledge about how such robberies actually look like: the number of perpetrators, their level of organization, their armament and methods, and often their “success” rate. A total study is a rare opportunity for criminologists to study a subject without having to deal with the usual restrictions of selection bias. If the crime studied at the same time is rare, compared to every day crime, but not rare enough to be statistically problematic, then the researcher should be able to come up with a solid description of opportunity structures influence the development of crime.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockhom, 2015. 162-162 p.
Keyword [en]
Kriminologi; Polismetoder; Organiserad brottslighet; Värderån; Tillfällighetsstrukturer; Rutinaktivitetsteori
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-5429ISBN: 978-91-87335-44-0OAI: diva2:820693
The Stockholm Criminology Symposium
Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency
Available from: 2015-06-12 Created: 2015-06-12 Last updated: 2015-11-11Bibliographically approved

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Fors, SCS presentation 2015(641 kB)33 downloads
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