Supergran and the scruffy criminals
I'm sure you saw the crazy pictures this week of Ann Timson, the 71-year-old 'vigilante' who foiled an armed gems raid by battering thieves with her handbag. I love the way she spots them a mile off, and absolutely steams across the road to start whacking them with her handbag.
I've been writing my third book on Persuasion - Persuade in a minute, out July, since you ask - and one of the interesting areas I've looked at is the clothes people wear and how they influence the people around them. (This is related to the armed raid so bear with me.)
One researcher did a study on the effect of a shoplifter's dress sense on whether the crime was reported or not. Nicholas Gueguen found that when a criminal was smartly dressed, other people were less likely to step in and intervene. Check out the results below.
- 73% of the shoppers did nothing. Most didn’t want to get involved.
- For the well dressed shoplifter (suit & tie), only 10% of the shoppers intervened (90% did nothing)
- For the poorly dressed shoplifter (torn jeans, trainers), 39% of the shoppers intervened (60% did nothing)
- For the neutrally dressed shoplifter (clean jeans, tee-shirt), 37% intervened (63% did nothing)
What does all this mean? Well the above research suggests that people become more 'compliant' when we're smartly dressed. But I'm not so sure. Having seen the video below, I think Ann Timson would have intervened even if the thieves had been wearing top hat and tails.
Watch the full awesome video here.