The economic incentives of burglary are eloquently laid out in a Theodore Dalrymple essay in the Times of London.
Millions of crimes a year are committed by people already on probation or just released after short sentences, and such sentences let every victim know that the State does not take his victimisation seriously. They make burglary and other crime a rational choice, especially given the low rate of detection. (One burglary in every twelve reported ends in conviction, and one conviction in thirteen ends in a prison sentence, which means that burglars, on average, serve about one day per burglary in prison.
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