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date: 23 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The strength of ethnography is that it combines the insights of what people say about crime with what they do when they make the decision to commit crime. Participant observation has played a key role in ethnographic research on crime, but it has become rare in criminology. This chapter argues that despite this development, new types of camera-based observations are emerging that can potentially bring new life into ethnographic research on crime. The chapter distinguishes between three types of observational methods (participant, researcher, and camera), and it discusses insights that have been gained from each method. Camera observations offer exciting possibilities of gaining insights into what offenders do as criminal events unfold. Although these types of observations may replace researcher observations because of higher detail and reliability, participant observations remain most suitable for the study of the socioeconomic circumstances of offenders and their experiences with committing crimes.

Keywords: offender, decision making, observations, ethnography, CCTV camera

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