Data on the decision-making process of residential burglars at the micro-level are scarce. Furthermore, to the best of our knowledge, none of the related studies have investigated multiple relationships between the design features of a target, a burglar’s assessment of effort and risk involved in the crime, and the final decision on target selection. This study aimed to test the hypothesis that a burglar’s judgment of how difficult (ease of intrusion) and how risky (risk of detection) it would be to break into a certain target may mediate the relationship between the target’s design features and target selection. The experiment using virtual reality was conducted to obtain more credible data by maximizing the immersion of participants, and the collected data were analyzed using path analysis. The results showed that the assessment of ease of intrusion and risk of detection for a burglary target served as mediators between the design features of the target and the decision on target selection. This study also found that the ease of intrusion and risk of detection were not evaluated independently but instead had influential relationships. These results suggest that when developing design strategies for burglary prevention, it is important to check the overall level of ease and risk of the possible intrusion routes of a target and their correlation by considering various environmental factors around the intrusion routes.
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- Crime prevention
- Design strategy
- Detached housing
- Residential burglary
- Target selection
- Virtual reality