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Serendipit y in Robb ery Tar get Selection
Bruce A. Jacobs*
Drawing from interviews with active robbers (drug robbers and carjackers), this paper explores the role of serendipity in the robbery target selection process. Serendipity is defined as the art of finding something valuable while engrossed in something different (Roberts 1989). The discovery is unanticipated, unexpected and anomalous (Merton and Barber 2006) and may result from decidedly negative experiences. The extent to which robbery targets emerge through ‘pure’ serendipity or a more ‘manufactured’ variety sheds light on the conceptual interface between perception, need, opportunity and rational choice.
Keywords: robbery, carjacking, target selection, serendipity