Le Comité de rédaction
Armed robbery is rarely committed by minors, but because of the gravity of the crime, it is given considerable importance in the operations of our justice system. Since there is little data in the regard, we have investigated how such crimes, which are among the most serious, are treated by the system.
We have found that these crimes are committed in an unprofessional way. From the police to the defence procedure, and going through the director of youth protection, they are dealt with fairly rapidly and in an official manner; however, the sentence is based less on the objective gravity of the crimes than on the characteristics of the minor, on his previous criminal record.
This article presents a typology of armed robbers in Montreal, the result of a study of 39 authors of armed robbery. After a brief outline of the theoretical and methodological model used in this study, each type of armed robber is presented as follows : 1) the multireci-divist who is characterized by a large number of armed robberies, 2) the professional whose criminal activity is planned and organized, 3) the intensive robber who commits armed robberies for a very short period of time and 4) the occasional robber who commits very few armed robberies but many other crimes.
Daniel Élie and Anne Kapétanaki-Barake
This descriptive and comparative study analyses the effectiveness of police activity on the evolution of robbery and armed robbery in four Canadian provinces and five metropolitan areas. The statistical data used were those furnished by Statistics Canada on cases of robbery, armed robbery, the clearance rate and the number of persons charged with these crimes. The evaluation of police effectiveness was made by analysing the variation in the rate of solution on the rate of crime and the rate of the number of persons accused on the rate of crime.
The analysis showed that the influence of police action on the control of robbery and armed robbery, as expresses by the clearance rates is almost the same from one province or metropolitan area to another. Furthermore, the effectiveness of police action seems to depend on the volume of crime that the police have to cope with. Also, the analysis of the variation in the clearance rate and the rate of persons accused in relation to the rate of crime showed that an increase in the volume of crime is independent of the efforts made by the police.
Rosette Gagnon and Marc LeBlanc
This article on the channeling of charges through the justice system deals with the punishment of particular infraction, armed robbery, in a comprehensive way, that is, its passage through all aspects of the justice system. To do this a sample of 1 258 armed robberies in Montreal and Quebec were used.
The most interesting result of the analysis presented is the finding that the least violent armed robberies give rise to the most exacting police reaction and the most severe judicial treatment. There is a sort of schism between the crime and the reaction it generates.
This article summarizes some of the findings of research done on the relinquishing of a criminal career. It is based on about twenty interviews, carried out between July and November 1984, with multirecedivist ex-criminals who had abandoned their criminal careers for at least five years prior to the study. We isolated the factors that dissuaded them from continuing this way of life as well as others that caused them to adopt a more conventional lifestyle.
It is a question of the difficulties connected with a criminal way of life — whether it be with one's criminal colleagues, rival gangs, informers, or the police, lawyers and the courts. There follows a series of bad experiences concerning prison life : the accumulation of sentences and years of prison, the living conditions, problems with the officers and guards, the presence of other inmates. But there are also positive things one discovers in prison whether it be new knowledge, new responsibilities or the help of people outside, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or the chaplains or at the emotional level, of a wife or mate.
We see, based on these factors, some of the difficulties that the ex-criminal must face if he wants to persevere in following a conventional lifestyle.
Micheline Baril and Anne Morrissette
Armed robbery has long been regarded as a crime against property. But from the victim's point of view, it is a violent crime which endangers their lives and constitutes a traumatic experience.
Nine years of research are briefly summarized with special attention to a recent survey of victims of commercial robbery in Montreal in which 440 persons were interviewed. It is difficult to describe a victim unless researchers agree on some basic definition of who should be defined as a victim. This is the first subject of discussion. After a short description of the way victimizations occur, the consequences of the robbery are discussed, and the responses of the mental health and justice systems are presented.
Most victims do not resist and those who do so seem to be reacting to past victimizations or to an excess of violence on the part of the robber. Nearly 90 % of victims suffer some kind of emotional trauma and far from being helped in this regard, this trauma is often aggravated by the criminal justice system's response. It seems to affect the victim much more than the financial, physical and social consequences of the crime, which had little effect on their attitudes and needs.
The main problem with armed robbery is that it creates and perpetuates a climate of suspicion, fear and anger very damaging to social relationships. These negative effects can be reduced, however, and the study points out some of the means by which this can be accomplished.
Armed robbery seems to be on the decline in Montreal. But there, as everywhere, prevention is «in».
Are there effective ways to prevent armed robbery? To answer this question, the study compared the various means used by a sample of 271 Montreal shop owners : 184 of them had been victims of robbery during the last two years and 87 had as yet never been robbed.
There are no easy solutions apart from selling the business. It was found that almost all retailers were prevention conscious. Non-expensive equipment is used in most stores by victims as well as non-victims. Costly means, such as alarms or cameras, are not very common but their preventive effect, if any, could not be other than indirect.
Cautious behavior, available to all, seems more effective. Non-victims had adopted slightly more preventive habits than former victims, such as frequent and irregular bank deposits, and/or enhancing the shop's visibility, etc. But so many more factors contribute to crime, several of which are beyond the control of the victim. Prevention also has negative side-effects. Is it worth it?
André Normandeau and Maurice Cusson