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Publication Date

Summer 2010

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies


Danielle A. Harris


escalation, sexual burglary, sexual offending, types/classification of burglary

Subject Areas

Sociology, Criminology and Penology


The presence of burglary charges in the criminal career of a male sex offender has been found as a valid empirical predictor of the seriousness of the criminal career of the offender. Burglary is systematically classified as a property offense in studies about the criminal careers of sex offenders. This approach ignores the possible sexual and versatile dimensions of burglary and hides a possible escalation of the offender toward sexual aggression in his incidents of burglary. This thesis remedies these gaps and investigates the various components of, and evidence of escalation in, incidents of burglary.

The sample of offenders is composed of 281 sex offenders with at least one incident of burglary. A second sample contains 762 separate incidents of burglary committed by these offenders. The results indicate a variety of characteristics in incidents of burglary. A typology is developed to represent these elements: nonsexual, covert sexual, overt sexual, and versatile. The thesis analyses the differences in the criminal careers of those sex offenders. Finally, the results also show various forms of escalation in incidents of burglary that are correlated with more violent criminal histories. This thesis discusses the implications of these findings with regards to the previous literature, particularly regarding specialization and versatility.