And now, a look at a study that’s the kind of research Batman would do if he were an academic instead of a crimefighter: a scientific study of virtual burglary.

Yes, there’s a field of study called virtual burglary!

This is not to be confused with attempted burglary, where you catch someone in the act of burgling.

Virtual burglary is when scientists set up a simulated house or other space and convince their test subjects to try to get in and steal stuff.

Dr. Claire Nee of the University of Portsmouth in the UK is a pioneer in the field.

Her most recent study involved three groups: people who were experienced burglars, people who’d committed crimes other than burglaries, and people who didn’t have any criminal history.

The scientists set up several virtual neighborhoods complete with simulated homes, and gave each test subject a mandate to go forth and loot one of the virtual houses.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that the experienced burglars knew the best ways to get into the house, as well as how to find valuables that would be easy to take and offer the biggest return on the criminal investment.

They could get in and out of the virtual house with their hauls in just minutes. Thus proving that even in crime, experience matters.

The non-burglar ex-cons were willing but not as effective, while the non-criminals were basically useless as burglars.

They apparently dithered so much about burgling that it slowed them down, and once they did finally go in, they tried to take TVs and other large items that just wouldn’t be worth the effort to a skilled burglar.

The hope is that we can learn differences between how most of us think burglars work and how they actually work, and then take steps that will stop more burglaries before they start.

Me, I’m gonna fire up an old copy of The Sims and watch all the other virtual characters really, really closely.

One of ‘em is bound to be up to something.

Here’s something else you can put on your release radar: remember how the state of Michigan’s pension system is getting a boost from an Ariana Grande song?

Well, now the state is taking another step into the industry: today is the release of Michigan’s new album “Pure Sounds of Michigan,” combining performances from Michigan musicians with sounds recorded at ten Michigan state parks.

Maybe someday a state park system will drop a nature-themed diss track on another state?

Crime fighting just got easier as burglars reveal all  (University of Portsmouth via EurekAlert!)

Michigan releasing album of sounds from state parks (Crain’s Detroit)

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Photo by Martin @pokipsie Rechsteiner via Flickr/Creative Commons