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Wednesday, December 22, 2021


     Burglars are the cowards of the underworld. They sneak around hotels, apartment houses and homes in the suburbs like cockroaches in the night, nibbling quietly at private wealth, and scattering into the dark at the slightest disturbance. They are the bugs of the underworld, ever fearful of being snuffed out by the police officer's service pistol or the homeowner's unregistered shotgun.

     But this cowardice pays off. It puts the criminal on the very cautious side of the crime business and reduces the possibility of eyewitnesses to the crime. The one drawback is that the burglar must later deal with a fence, since most burglaries yield merchandise rather than currency. But it is a price that burglars are prepared to pay in return for the practice of what they regard as a trade considerably less risky than armed robbery, where the yield is usually cash. Most burglars do not carry a dangerous weapon.

Thomas Plate, Crime Pays, 1975

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