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Watching real burglers


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"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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I just read the first article and found it really interesting (do not have time for the second one right now, though)! I am not sure, if I will get an honest answer to this question, but anyway: How many of you have thought about actually breaking into a house? I have to admit, I do quite often think about good access routes into an apartment, that I pass (especially, when I am walking somewhere and do not have anything better to do...). But I would absolutely suck at evaluating how wealthy the residents are...

 

I think, most TDM/Thief players would find good access routes, but would (just like the students in the study) take too many things with too little value. At last, this is what you do in the games: Take everything you can carry. Would be interesting to limit the number of loot items you can actually carry. It would be no problem to script that... Maybe I will incude it in my WIP. I like the idea ;)

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I'll think about access routes and sneaking into places when I'm walking around them, especially big complexes like office buildings, but just imagining it, like as fodder for a screenplay or game level.

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What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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It might in general be interesting for this study how stealth game players would act. With them they would have a group of people, that have trained in a virtual environment and this is how the whole study is about, if I understood that correctly.

At least some of the mistakes made by the student (like getting in through the front door), is something most TDM players would not make. On the other hand, this entrance is blocked by guards in most cases. If this were not true, I think, many players would choose the front door (simply due to lazyness).

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"a simulated version of the house on a laptop that could be navigated using a mouse or a game controller. Items (of value and otherwise) ...could be “stolen” by clicking on them."

 

I want to play this.

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I think, most TDM/Thief players would find good access routes, but would (just like the students in the study) take too many things with too little value. At last, this is what you do in the games: Take everything you can carry. Would be interesting to limit the number of loot items you can actually carry. It would be no problem to script that... Maybe I will incude it in my WIP. I like the idea ;)

 

I remember there used to be a reality show of sorts called "It Takes a Thief" where a thief would burgle a participant's home to promote the need for home security.

 

One of the things that really struck me about how the show's "thief" went about taking things, was how much attention and effort he paid to what you might call the "logistics" of getting things out of the house.

Obviously what you could carry in your pockets or even a backpack would be severely limited, so instead he would appropriate whatever "containers" were already available in the home. He would try to figure out a way to stuff as many things of sufficient value into an appropriate container as possible, stack and/or combine these where possible to make them easier to carry, and get them out of the house and to a waiting vehicle as quickly and safely as possible (I guess carrying too much at once and getting injured in the process would severely hamper a burglary).

Sometimes he would even steal a vehicle present at the home to transport additional goods provided the keys were available.

 

The basic task of transporting things is not something we immediately think of as a complex task in a burglary, so I thought was interesting the amount of effort and thought this "thief" put into this particular task.

Edited by Professor Paul1290
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In law school we learn how specific laws actually get violated, in terms of the elements of them getting triggered. (It works surprisingly like game code IMO.) So, e.g., breaking and entering requires the two elements. There has to be a "breaking", which includes breaking a lock and IIRC even turning a door handle and opening the door -- but if the door were left open and the thief just slipped in, it couldn't be a B&E charge. And then "entering". If the thief just opened a door or broke a lock but didn't actually enter, it's not a B&E charge. (I forget what it'd be if the thief could slip something out without actually entering, maybe it depends on how the thing is getting out. It'd take a little thought. Another case is if you just stay in a place after closing hours; it's still B&E IIRC, but it's a special case.) Then burglary is B&E plus an intention to thieve (sometimes people get caught B&E without actually intending to steal something, or vice versa). And then crimes vary by the amount stolen, whether it's vanilla theft or grand theft. Or if (threat of) force is used or not.

 

Then we'd get all sorts of weird hypotheticals and have to figure out which crimes got triggered by the elements. What if a person comes down a chimney or slips something out a half open window, etc. Thief (the game) and TDM are actually good fodder for studying criminal law because of all the crazy things that can happen.

 

I had an idea once to make a TDM branch that actually registers all the crimes the player commits when the elements are met, and at the end it would give you a "criminal score", like in terms of the length of a standard prison sentence for getting convicted of each of the crimes and serving them consecutively.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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The logistics is something I regularly think about. I play a lot of RPGs (mostly as rogue) and as annoying as the limited inventory is, it is more realistic. In a real burglary many valuables are quite difficult to transport (a TV for example is very difficult to carry alone). In many RPGs at least the weight is limited (although the volume is then neglected). In most stealth games you can just take as much as you want, without regard to weight or volume. On the other hand, it would empede the fun if you are limited that way, so I can clearly understand, why they do it.

 

What is the difference between theft and grand theft? Is it only the amount stolen or are there other factors that influence the severitiy of the crime?

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In US law, grand theft generally means stealing things collectively worth more than $5000.

 

If you use or threaten with deadly force, it would ramp the severity of a crime from, e.g., robbery or burglary to armed robbery or armed burglary.

 

The game Guild of Thieves requires you to pull out goods in view of a guard, so you have to take trips and bag things right. It's actually on my list of TDM FMs I'd like to make someday.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'll think about access routes and sneaking into places when I'm walking around them, especially big complexes like office buildings, but just imagining it, like as fodder for a screenplay or game level.

 

I do sometimes wonder at night, how hard would I to spot? Could I really hide in the shadows? Would my footsteps be heard?

 

And of course one is much more aware of access routes. OTOH, I saw quite a few break-ins afterwards, and typical burglers don't care about ghosting, or getting in unseen or unheard - they take the quickest route in and out even if this means smashing in a window or dismantling a doorframe.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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The game Guild of Thieves requires you to pull out goods in view of a guard, so you have to take trips and bag things right. It's actually on my list of TDM FMs I'd like to make someday.

 

Ages ago, I have gotten my hands on a DOS-games collection (8 GB of zipped games, so you can imagine how many games that makes ;)) and actually found Guild of Thieves. Sadly the pictures overlap with the text, which makes it hardly playable. I will have to try a bit, if I can find a fix for this. The game seems to be fun, although I have to admit, that I have only limited experience with text-based adventures (the closest to that I played was Space Quest). Anyways, thanks for the tip!

 

 

I do sometimes wonder at night, how hard would I to spot? Could I really hide in the shadows? Would my footsteps be heard?

 

And of course one is much more aware of access routes. OTOH, I saw quite a few break-ins afterwards, and typical burglers don't care about ghosting, or getting in unseen or unheard - they take the quickest route in and out even if this means smashing in a window or dismantling a doorframe.

 

Well, I think it is more practical to not ghost about, if you really only want to steal a few bucks. But when I imagine to break into some house etc I would try to avoid damage as far as I could. The main advantage here would be, that people would not know, that there was a break-in and thus might even just think that they lost the things you take with you somewhere else. At least as long as you do not take too much...

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