Opportunity Makes the Thief

Opportunity Makes the Thief Sir Francis Bacon Al-winco Alwinco ALWAYS IN CONTROL Independent Security Risk Assessment Independent Security Consultant South Africa Crime Prevention #SRA Security Plan Physical Security Audit Analysis Survey
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The idiom, “Opportunity Makes the Thief” as quoted from Sir Francis Bacon centuries ago, encompasses the concept that anyone would be capable of committing a theft if there were no controls in place and no punishment for the crime. Although this is a familiar phrase within the English language, what is not acknowledged is that there is more truth to this then realized at first.

The criminological research department of the British Government wrote a paper addressing “Opportunity Makes the Thief” and this was further explored in 2002 by the Jill Dando Institute of Crime (Laycock & Tilley).

Do you think that that opportunity makes the thief?

Consider the following to accurately answer this  question. If the world existed the with no situational controls; such as the inspection of bus tickets, airport baggage checks, locks, alarms, access control, library book checkouts or courts and jails; do you think there would be more crime?

Should you decide that yes – there would be more crime– then you are, surprisingly of the unorthodox opinion that opportunity makes the thief. Many individuals in security and crime studies do not agree with this although it actually really makes sense when given thought. This is also what we base our method of crime prevention tactics upon. It must be noted though that although opportunity does affect crime immensely, there are still other factors that come into play, which needs to be considered and cannot be ignored.

For a crime to occur in time and space there needs to be 3 aspects in place. We refer to this as the crime triangle.


ALWINCO alwin-co Crime Triangle Opportunity Makes the Thief Independent Security Risk Assessment #SRA ISCSA independent security consultants South Africa Crime Prevention Security Plan Always in control
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The first side of the triangle is the desire of the criminal. He, or she, must have the willpower to want to commit the crime. Unfortunately, this we cannot change at all. For example, the criminal may be from a broken home, desperate and jobless, have no morals or ethics or may just be selfish. Whatever the reason is, this remains inherent to the criminal and we have no power or affect in this regards.


Although we have more control here, we still cannot completely eliminate this side of the triangle. All we can do in this case is hinder the ability of the criminal. This could either be physically; like making a wall higher or strengthening the bar burglars; or it could be mentally. In this case, an example would be to more difficult for the criminal to commit the crime by placing beams in unexpected places or hiding our valuables where they definitely not think to look for it.


This is where the key to proactive crime prevention lies and this is also the cornerstone on which our methodology is based upon. By eliminating the opportunity presented to the criminal to actually commit the crime we are, in fact, preventing it from happening. In this light and reviewed again, with the statement that opportunity makes the thief, the concept of what the Independent Security Risk Assessment brings to the table is thus realised. We will show and explain these opportunities to you, as well as show you the means and various options in how to eradicate this and to make your property more resistant to crime.

Many oppose our stance and base their assessments on an overflow from Health & Safety where the probability for a crime to occur is used to determine risk. We have proven this incorrect and for the sceptics out there – please review the link below as to how an opportunity was created when the probability was not considered likely. Here we see how a created opportunity makes the thief:


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