1. Postgraduate applicants to City, University of London
  2. Offender Perspectives

Offender Perspectives

Based in the heart of London, a global city par excellence, City Criminologists study what is at their door-step: the key institutions of government, policy-making and the media; extreme socio-economic divides between globalisation’s winners and losers; offenders, victims, the police and criminal justice agencies; cutting-edge street culture and everyday urban life. Dedicated to sophisticated, sociologically-inspired analysis, we examine the big ideas that underpin crime and criminal justice in contemporary society. Here is an article celebrating our research excellence in Criminology.


Gaining the offender perspective is crucial to understanding crime, yet it is one of the most neglected areas of criminological study. Understanding how, when and why crime occurs is essential to formulate theory and develop effective policies.


If ‘opportunity makes the thief’ then why doesn’t everyone commit crime when the chance arises? At City, criminologists conduct applied research with offenders to understand how and why they engage in unlawful activities. Recent studies include analysis of armed robbery, burglary, and retail theft. These first-hand offender accounts provide vital indicators regarding the antecedents of criminal behaviour. Recognising that motivation is complex and multifaceted, researchers use innovative methods to gain the fullest picture possible of offenders’ lives.

Modus Operandi

Crime is socioculturally specific and changes over time. Technological developments, for example, can rapidly impact on the desirability of goods (mobile phones, computers, vehicles) as well as on security and approaches to crime control.

Criminals are adaptive and so it is important for criminologists to understand how modus operandi evolves over time. This can inform policing operations, crime control policy and the law.

Rehabilitation and desistance

There is often a critical juncture in the trajectory of a criminal career where the offender could have taken a different path. Recognising these pinch points are important for diversion from crime.

Just as pathways into criminal behaviour are many and varied, opportunities for rehabilitation are multiple and diverse. What works for one offender might have little impact for another. Through engagement with offenders research can gain insight into the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs that support desistance and facilitate the transition to a crime-free life.