Weapons, Body Postures, and the Quest for Dominance in Robberies: A Qualitative Analysis of Video Footage

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A small-scale exploration of the use of video analysis to study robberies. We analyze the use of weapons as part of the body posturing of robbers as they attempt to attain dominance.

Qualitative analyses of video footage of 23 shop robberies. We used Observer XT software (version 12) for fine-grained multimodal coding, capturing diverse bodily behavior by various actors simultaneously. We also constructed story lines to understand the robberies as hermeneutic whole cases.

Robbers attain dominance by using weapons that afford aggrandizing posturing and forward movements. Guns rather than knives seemed to fit more easily with such posturing. Also, victims were more likely to show minimizing postures when confronted with guns. Thus, guns, as part of aggrandizing posturing, offer more support to robbers’ claims to dominance in addition to their more lethal power. In the cases where resistance occurred, robbers either expressed insecure body movements or minimizing postures and related weapon usage or they failed to impose a robbery frame as the victims did not seem to comprehend the situation initially.

Video analysis opens up a new perspective of how violent crime unfolds as sequences of bodily movements. We provide methodological recommendations and suggest a larger scale comparative project.
TidsskriftJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)3-26
StatusUdgivet - 1 feb. 2018

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