Categories of Burglars Research Essay

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Mike Maguire claims that there are three main categories of thieves. Low-level, mid-range, and high-level burglars fall into these three groups. Based on the distinctive traits and trends he noticed in each of the three types, Maguire classified them in his study. The differences were based on each group's method of operation, experience, and level of crime committed. Beginners frequently fell into the low-level group of burglars, which mainly consisted of young people or juvenile offenders. These people were only drawn to committing crimes for the excitement they would feel as a result. It was characterized by low degree crimes whereby the young people worked in groups; peer pressure was a major factor in this category. They tend to be opportunistic and take advantage of unsuspecting victims. Due to their lack of experience, they can be easily dissuaded by alarms, locks and other security devices or systems. Their criminal acts lack a great deal of organization and planning and are usually spontaneous (Maguire, 1980).

The middle-range category of burglars comprises of older individuals compared to the low-level class. They may have stayed longer in the ‘game’ and often work under the influence of drugs such as alcohol and drugs. Their crimes have some considerable degree of organization and planning and they usually put into consideration the level of risk involved and what they stand to gain at the end; i.e. the potential payout. However, they tend to lack proper connections to enable them to pull off large-scale or ‘big’ crimes. The high-level category of burglars comprises of criminals at the top of the food chain. They are able to pull off large-scale crimes due to their experience in the game, usually spanning many years. They can be termed as professional burglars as they commit crime like it’s their career. To this effect, they manage to make away with large amounts of money and valuable property. They are likely to use sophisticated weapons such as guns. They also tend to be well-known to the police authorities but their high-level connections enable them to carry on their illegal activities ‘smoothly’ without detection.

Part B: Mortgage Crimes

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has over the past few years classifies mortgage crimes as one of the most prevalent forms of white-collar crimes in the country. The occurrence of this type of crime has been on an upward trend due to the growth and expansion of the real estate sector over the past few decades. Many people have turned to financial lending institutions to seek assistance so as to own homes. They then make a legal commitment with the lending institutions to pay back the loans over an agreed period of time. The problem with the mortgage sector is that some unscrupulous individuals have found a way to circumnavigate the entire process such that they pay less. Banks and other lenders have had issues dealing with such individuals who cause them huge losses through fraudulent transactions. The FBI has set up a division to investigate these cases and have identified the main forms of mortgage crimes common in the country (Smith, 2010).

The first illegal activity that the FBI has identified is the misstatement of the borrower’s income. This is quite common with self-employed individuals who may have the intent to take up a mortgage but their income may be inadequate to secure the amount desired. In such a case, such individuals tend to overstate their incomes. Such inflation can amount to mortgage fraud because false information has been used to obtain financial assistance from the lender. Banks and other lenders are at risk because the borrower may find it difficult to pay within the stipulated repayment period. Such a situation leads to heavy losses especially if many lenders applied for the mortgage using misrepresented information. The other illegal activity occurs when the appraisal amount of a property is overstated such that it becomes over-valued. The risk in such a case is that the borrower obtains financial assistance amounting to a figure that is higher than the actual amount. This is mischievous as it allows one to make a financial gain following the inflation of the true value of the mortgaged property. The other activity is where the applicant poses as a borrower on behalf of another individual that is actually purchasing the property in question. The risk here is that the actual buyer may be unqualified to get the mortgage either due to their age or financial position. In the event that the individual posing as the buyer dies or even becomes incapable of repaying due to bankruptcy, it becomes an uphill task for the lender to recover the amount loaned. If such fraudulent activities are widespread, lenders could end up making huge financial losses that could adversely affect their financial performance.

Part C: Categories of Cybercrime

Cybercrime refers to any form of crime that is committed via computer systems or networks. It has increasingly become a cause for concern over the past few decades, in many incidences leading to disturbance and even financial losses on the victims. Cyber crimes are committed by individuals with ill intent, mainly gaining access to other people’s information and content for selfish games. In this regard, there are five main categories of cybercrime. The fist category is hacking. This occurs when an individual gains access to another person’s credentials such as passwords and uses them to access their information online. A good example if when a hacker accesses someone’s password for a social media site like Twitter of Facebook. The hacker can harm the victim by posting abusive content on these platforms to damage his or her reputation. The second category is identity theft. This is one of the most widespread cybercrime as it is usually aimed at accessing the victim’s bank accounts, credit or debit cards or even their social security accounts (McQuade, 2006). The hacker may, for instance, make away with the victim’s funds, resulting in huge financial losses. The third category is the deployment of malicious software and programs such as viruses which have the capability to destroy or distort the victim’s files. For example, viruses can be sent via mail and portable storage devices and can be used to access the victim’s information. In worst case scenarios, they can cause entire computer systems to crash, resulting in loss of data.

Another common form of cybercrime is stalking. It happens where a malicious internet user connects with the victim and tracks their online activity, usually on several platforms. Stalkers also tend to continuously send unwanted messages, images and other forms of content even though it’s unsolicited. In worst case scenarios, the hacker may find the victim’s physical location, moving from online stalking to real-world stalking. A good example is stalking on social media. The final category is theft, which usually occurs where artistic or literary content is involved (Reyns, Henson and Fisher, 2014). Criminals specializing in online theft usually engage in the piracy of copyrighted music and books, which they then sell online or even go ahead to publish and make hard copies, to purport to be their own. Content creators thus end up incurring hefty losses, and the theft robs them of their source livelihood. These cases are common in the film and music industry.


Maguire, M. (1980). Burglary as opportunity. Research Bulletin, 10, 6-9.

McQuade, S. C. (2006). Understanding and managing cybercrime. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

Reyns, B. W., Henson, B., & Fisher, B. S. (2014). Cybercrime. The encyclopedia of theoretical criminology.

Smith, J. C. (2010). The structural causes of mortgage fraud.

July 15, 2023

Crime Science Law

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