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DECISION-MAKING PRACTICES IN ARMED ROBBERY AMONG ARMED ROBBERS IN NIGERIA
The social and psychological processes involved in decision making practices in armed robbery underlie the fact that the offenders are rational, calculative and at best remain economic men. The decision making practices of robbers centre on three key areas of the criminal behaviour: why to rob, who to rob and how to rob. This paper sets out to investigate the decision making practices of armed robbers in Nigeria as it affects these three critical areas of concern of the offending behaviour. It is based on the study of seventy six (76), convicted and the unconvicted but self-admitted armed robbers (68 by questionnaire, and 8 by in-depth oral interview) in three prisons in the southeast states of Nigeria. The questionnaires were administered on the 68 samples while the in-depth oral interview technique was conducted on another eight (8) sampled robbers who did not participate in the questionnaire section of the data collection process. Analyses and interpretation of data show that decision making practices among robbers in contemporary Nigeria are robust. In particular, the study revealed that robbers make essential decisions on the need (why) to rob, and then, rationalize it as acceptable; they make decision on who to rob (targets)—choosing targets based on certain criteria and locality preference; and finally, they make decision on how to rob based on expected gains and risks, and involving decision on whether or not to employ gun and mask in the course of operation. The paper concludes that in the light of a rational, calculative and hedonistic nature of robbers in contemporary Nigeria, effective prevention policy to robbery lies not with harsher penalties but in target hardening, situational crime prevention strategies and fundamentally, in addressing the motivation of young persons to make the choice.
Key word: Armed robbery, Armed Robbers, Decision-making, Contemporary Nigeria, Emulation.