Burglars or Bunglers?

Crime doesn’t pay! Except when it’s virtual?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying – how far are YOU in the Tetris Effect?

Virtual reality has revolutionized video games. Players can lead alternate lives without consequences — even a life of crime! But what can VR tell us about the criminal mind?

To find out, Claire Nee from the University of Portsmouth and her international team designed a virtual neighborhood LOADED with valuables. Volunteer civilians, experienced burglars, and other criminals ransacked the place – VIRTUALLY!

What did the researchers find? VERY clear differences in performance! Inexperienced robbers entered homes randomly, moved slowly, and stole big obvious items, like TV’s. Career burglars quickly identified the wealthiest homes, their layouts and security. They moved methodically, looking for smaller and lighter items in classic hiding spots. Novices showed no strategy.

Pro skills meant that EXPERIENCED robbers were twice as likely to find booty like rings, necklaces, and passports!

Knowledge is power! By learning expert robbery tricks, security systems can be designed around them. VR made all of this possible!

PS: Please don’t try this at home… or at your neighbors house. Looting, we mean!