chapter  1
10 Pages

Learning about crime from criminals: editor’s introduction

WithWim Bernasco

There are many ways to learn about crime and about criminals. We can analyse criminal justice records, we can analyse data from surveys, and we can analyse the accounts of the offenders in their own words. The latter approach is referred to as ‘offender-based research’. It usually involves talking to offenders and observing them in their own environment. Although offenders are potentially the richest source of information on their crimes and on their lives, offender-based research is difficult. Many offenders are hard to find, and many are unable or unwilling to tell us what we would like to know. Nevertheless, the offenders’ perspective is vital to knowing and understanding crime.