Shostack + Friends Blog Archive



In the latest in the ongoing saga of debit cards being reissued after a breach at an unnamed merchant, 3rd-party, or card processor, we learn that unless a crook stands a chance of getting caught, he’ll keep on stealing:

These crooks get away with it, and that’s why they keep doing it. They’ve got about a one in a thousand chance of getting arrested

The quotation is from Gartner analyst Avivah Levitan. I’d love to know where that 1 in 1,000 number comes from. I found a decent report [pdf] from the folks that run the Star ATM network, but couldn’t derive anything about arrest rates from it. Other than that, all my intrepid research assistant Google could find was that arrest rates are “under 5%, according to law enforcement” in about 25 different places — which is probably a factoid run amok, rather than a real number. Besides, there’s a big difference between 1 in 20 and 1 in 1000.
Anybody have any idea how such a number could be determined? Seems to me it’s rather challenging to compile for a crime likely not to be reported, and where one criminal’s arrest could clear hundreds of crimes.