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By Michael Benny, Criminal Justice
Advisor: J.C. Barnes
Presentation ID: AM_D38
Abstract: The use of virtual reality (VR) is a tool that is sweeping through, and improving, various industries. Whether it is to be used as a therapy tool for those who are suffering from PTSD, or as a training tool for local fire and police departments, VR can be utilized to better ourselves and society. Additionally, VR can be used to better understand why phenomena such as crime occur. More specifically, VR can be utilized to grasp a more concrete understanding on offender decision-making and the various elements that play into that decision-making process. In order to develop a VR environment that allows researchers to both (a) simulate a crime and (b) study offender decision-making, it is necessary to examine existing literature and identify the core factors that influence offender decision-making for certain types of crime. Interestingly, results from VR simulations can, in turn, be compared to this existing literature to validate VR study findings. This poster presentation serves as a "proof of concept" and demonstrates how VR environments can be set up to test existing knowledge and develop new knowledge about offender decision-making in property crime. Specifically, this presentation will show how the VR environment can test the influence of witnesses or guardians, the accessibility of the "goods" to be stolen, and the likelihood of getting caught by law enforcement.