Interestingly though, of those citing money, only about half had become involved in 'professional' car crime. The money to be made on a more casual basis, such as by stealing goods from the car, was obviously a powerful motivator as well:
People don't steal cars just to joyride because they're bored, they steal because they've got no money, they can't see any other way of gelling out . . . It's a combination of boredom, loss of money, nowhere to go, nothing to do.
We'd take stereos, tapes, stuff that we could carry. We'd usually keep il for a couple of days and if we hadn't sold it inacoupleof days we'd usually chuck it. But we'd keep the tapes anyway and put the stereos somewhere until somebody wanted one for their car.
Of those not citing money as their main motivator, three-quarters had no 'professional' theft experience; they continued to steal cars for the buzz, the majority being engaged in performance driving. In fact, of all the 'performance drivers' in the sample, only a third reported money as ihe main motivator.
Again, subjects were then asked to rate another ten possible reasons for continuing car crime. For those with at least one year's experience, Figure 3.4 illustrates that although boredom ('just something to do') and excitement are again rated very highly, their importance had diminished somewhat in compari- son to initial reasons for offending. Rather, material gain features prominently, achieved through selling parts of the car and/or stealing goods from the car. To 'sell the car' received a less significant response, perhaps reflecting its more exclusive nature in comparison to other forms of pecuniary car crime. The most common response of all, nonetheless, was that 'It's so easy you can't resist the temptation'—a clear pointer for car manufacturers and owners.
In sum, then, as experience of car theft develops, motives for persisting change somewhat. Excitement and release from boredom remain heavily implicated, as does peer influence. However, widening experience undoubtedly opens up many possibilities for being financially rewarding by stealing. This becomes the primary motivator for a substantial proportion of the sample, though it does not necessarily ensure that they will progress to more organised 'professional' car crime.
This said, it would be unwise to underestimate the considerable personal pay- offs in terms of intense excitement, status and self-esteem recurrent throughout subjects' accounts of thieving cars. A discussion of this element of car crime and the somewhat compulsive behaviour it fuels follows.
The role of compulsion in car crime
Studies on burglary (Nee and Taylor, 1988b; Bennett and Wright, 1984) and shoplifting (Carroll and Weaver, 1986) have strongly suggested that target selection in these crimes tends to be less of an opportunistic whim, than the