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The Anatomy of a Mugging
So, while a mugging may not be the most common crime to see or deal with in a role playing game, understanding the anatomy of a basic crime like a mugging helps think about the more complex kinds of crimes. The first and most important thing to understand about muggings as with many “lower” crimes is that they come in two types. The first type is the amateur mugging which is carried out generally by a single person, the second is the professional mugging which is generally carried out by a team. The amateur versus professional distinction is very important for most types of low crime and has a huge contrast in the mugging.
The amateur mugging is generally carried out by a single individual. The defining feature of the amateur mugging compared to the professional is that they are based on opportunity presenting itself rather than the creation of opportunity. The chronological order of this crime goes something like this.
- Target isolates themselves.
- Offender recognizes that there is a target.
- Offender confirms that the target is isolated.
- Offender approaches the target.
- Offender threatens the target with violence if the target doesn't comply with their demands.* Target complies with the Offender's demands, and the Offender departs.Or* Target does not comply with the Offender's demands.* Offender uses force to take the demanded resources.Or* Offender does not carry through on the threat of force.
The professional mugging has a rather different structure. The first and most important difference is that the professional mugging is carried out by a team. The minimum size of a professional mugging team is three. The standard operating procedure is to have one observer at each corner of the block that targets will be robbed in, and have at least one person acting as the point person or striker that actually approaches the target. The optional component of this team is to have one or two enforcers who act only if the Target does not comply with the threat of force. The time line of a professional mugging goes as follows.
- Target moves into the target area where they are isolated.
- The observer on the side the target enters signals the prospective target.
- The play caller for the team (usually the point person) calls the target will be hit.
- (Optional) The Enforcer moves in behind the target to complete envelopment.
- The point man moves in and engages the target.
- Point man threatens the target with violence if the target doesn't comply with their demands.* Target complies with the point man's demands.Or* Target does not comply with the point man's demands.* Enforcer or observer moves in, and with the Point Man carries out the threat of violence and takes what was demanded, causing injuries as well to make a point.
Compare and Contrast:
There are a few differences between the two forms of mugging that are generally apparent. The first is the obvious of solitary rather than team execution. The second that makes a huge difference is the possibility of use of violence by the amateur rather than the surety of use of violence in the case of the professionals. The third that is very important is the planning versus the opportunistic location of a target.
The professional approach is unsurprisingly more safe for the offenders than the amateur approach is for the most part. The danger of the amateur approach is that if the amateur ends up targeting a prepared and aggressive or very alert target they can end up hurt or caught. The other major danger is that some amateurs aren't ready or able to carry out the threat of violence that they have used to attempt to get what ever they are going for, usually money.
We'll discuss the greater danger of the professional approach in a later, which is in the greater danger of exposure. We will also discuss the danger of not carrying out a threat of violence in crime in a later post.