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Getting Hosed: An Examination of Petty Theft in the Car Wash Industry

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Abstract:

The present study examines the applicability of routine activities theory to one particular type of occupational crime—petty theft in the car wash industry. Using a quasi-experimental field research design, the researchers tested the frequency with which apparently uncounted smaller currency (coins) was stolen from the test vehicle during full-service car wash cycles. Experimental conditions were varied so that one condition suggested a more deviant driver. Most notably, a considerable amount of money was removed in twenty-eight percent of all car washes overall. Consistent with the predictions of routine activities theory, the number of total thefts and the amount of money stolen was higher in the experimental condition in which the driver appeared to be more deviant. The findings suggest that the mere appearance of the victim as more deviant, i.e. in closer social proximity to the offender, triggers the perception of higher vulnerability. Implications for customers engaging in potentially high-risk transactions are included. Directions for future research, particularly with regard to research on social proximity as a potential suitability criterion and the less applied area of quasi-experimental field research, are suggested.
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Name: ASC Annual Meeting
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http://www.asc41.com


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MLA Citation:

Burns, Ronald., Kinkade, Patrick. and Bachmann, Michael. "Getting Hosed: An Examination of Petty Theft in the Car Wash Industry" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASC Annual Meeting, San Francisco Marriott, San Francisco, California, Nov 17, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-09-15 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p430019_index.html>

APA Citation:

Burns, R. , Kinkade, P. and Bachmann, M. , 2010-11-17 "Getting Hosed: An Examination of Petty Theft in the Car Wash Industry" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASC Annual Meeting, San Francisco Marriott, San Francisco, California <Not Available>. 2014-09-15 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p430019_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: The present study examines the applicability of routine activities theory to one particular type of occupational crime—petty theft in the car wash industry. Using a quasi-experimental field research design, the researchers tested the frequency with which apparently uncounted smaller currency (coins) was stolen from the test vehicle during full-service car wash cycles. Experimental conditions were varied so that one condition suggested a more deviant driver. Most notably, a considerable amount of money was removed in twenty-eight percent of all car washes overall. Consistent with the predictions of routine activities theory, the number of total thefts and the amount of money stolen was higher in the experimental condition in which the driver appeared to be more deviant. The findings suggest that the mere appearance of the victim as more deviant, i.e. in closer social proximity to the offender, triggers the perception of higher vulnerability. Implications for customers engaging in potentially high-risk transactions are included. Directions for future research, particularly with regard to research on social proximity as a potential suitability criterion and the less applied area of quasi-experimental field research, are suggested.

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