Every now and then, everyone is tempted to run afoul of the law. Whether it’s running that red light, or taking that small item without paying, most Americans have, at least, contemplated breaking the law. What stops us? For most, it’s the fear of getting caught. But imagine if that was somehow lessened by a reward. What if you were paid for the criminal act? It turns out, you can put a price on morals. Here are 10 crimes that, deep down, we’d totally commit for cash (according to studies)…
10. Stealing Candy
In honor of Halloween, the overseers of one study asked participants how much money it would take to convince them to steal candy. The answer: not a whole lot. Participants stated that for just $50, they’d agree to steal the candy from a young child trick or treating, or from the local store. The survey found that 84.7% of men would steal candy while only 75% of women would.
Overall, women were less likely to commit crimes for cash than men. The generation of the participant also had a notable effect on their likelihood to commit said crime. Nearly 85% of Millennials said they’d steal candy for money, while only 73% of Generation X and 60% of Baby Boomers admitted they’d do the same.
9. Running a Red Light
While running a red light may seem innocuous, a dangerous intersection could lead to fatal results. That’s why it was surprising how willing participants were to commit such a crime. More than 88% of men and 77% of women admitted they’d run a red light for a financial benefit.
In this case, men needed more money than women to commit the deed, asking for $300 while women only needed $200. Similar to our last case, Baby Boomers were hardest to convince, with only 67% agreeing to run a red light. That percentage increased to 79% for Generation X, and a whopping 87% of Millennials.
8. Peeing in Public
Everyone’s had to deal with it. Shoes sticking to the floor of the train, that smell in parking lots. It’s a crime that many have committed, yet will never admit. It turns out that with a little monetary incentive, people would do more than admit to the crime… they’d carry it out. Overall, 81% of surveyed participants stated that they’d be willing to urinate in public.
Understandably, women were much less willing to carry out such a crime, and asked for a much handsomer price. The going price for a woman to pee in public was $1,000, compared to just $200 for men. Also, while 88% of men said they’d pee in public, only 74% of women would share their convictions. Surprisingly, the Baby Boomer generation was more likely to pee in public than steal candy. We guess for Baby Boomers, a little urine never hurt anybody?
7. Vandalizing Property with Graffiti
While some may view graffiti as art, it’s a misdemeanor and can be punished by one year in prison. The participants in this study needed a $1,000 reward to engage in vandalism, with 76.8% of participants agreeing to carry out the misdemeanor.
Again, men were more likely to commit the crime than women, by a margin of 82% of men to 70% of women. The men and women who conducted the study did not further delineate their results by generation, but it’s hard to believe Baby Boomers would know what to do with a spray can in their hands as well as Millennials.
6. Punching Someone (Assault)
As the list continues, the crimes get a little darker, and more violent. Assault is a serious crime, which, depending on the injury, could result in as much as 15 years in prison. A simple punch wouldn’t do much damage, though, right? That must have been the thinking of the study participants, who agreed to assault someone for $1,500 (median).
Slightly more than 71% of participants agreed to punch someone, with 77% of men agreeing while only 65% of women said the same. Women also asked for more money – $2,000 – while men asked for $500 less. The States, by participants, more willing to smack someone in the nose? Those are located primarily in the midwest, north, and central regions, in states like North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri.
5. Grand Theft Auto
No, not the video game. Probably the ultimate thrill ride would be escaping in a stolen car, but its difficulty and the likelihood of incarceration saw willing participants drop significantly. Only 55% of those surveyed said they’d steal a car for cash, and the price tag wasn’t cheap.
A payment of $120,000 dollars (median) would be needed to compel them into action. The women who agreed to steal a car, however, would demand a payment of a quarter of a million dollars. It seems that for people to be willing to steal a car, that’d have to be paid enough to buy a house.
The results for willingness to burglarize a home might be surprising to some. The percentages for robbing a home and stealing a car were nearly identical, with burglary coming in a single percentage-point lower.
However, burglarizing a home only took a payment of $70,000 dollars for participants to agree. Women, again, needed more to commit the crime, asking for double their male counterparts asking price of $50,000. Presumably because they’re much more wary of potential Kevin McCallister encounters upon breaking into a random home. At least, that’s what we’re choosing to believe.
3. Robbing a Store
The crimes continue to get a little more serious as we round out the list. One doesn’t have to look too far to understand the grave danger of attempted robbery. From a store owner pulling a gun, to police arriving on the scene, robbing a store is no joke. That didn’t stop 52% of participants from admitting they’d rob a store for a certain amount of cash.
The amount demanded? A cool $250,000. That was certainly more than they’d find in any cash register. In the biggest disparity yet, women asked for $500,000 while men only asked for $100,000 to commit such an offense. Willing female participants continued to shrink, with only 44% agreeing to rob a store. Luckily for us, the male participants drove the numbers higher, with 59% stating they’d commit such a robbery.
2. Robbing a Bank
While robbing a liquor or convenience store is certainly dangerous, carrying out a bank robbery is by far the most perilous robbery one can commit (well, other than a casino, as the Ocean’s movies taught us). And yet 57 % of men deemed themselves willing to rob a bank, if they were guaranteed some upfront cash.
Two million dollars was the average amount for men, while women needed eight million dollars to commit the same crime. Women were also far less likely to rob a bank, with only 42% saying they’d take such a risk. Bonnie Parker is turning over in her grave.
Taking another human life, without a justified cause, is probably the most depraved of criminal acts. Did that stop the surveyed participants from admitting a willingness to commit murder? Absolutely not. However, the price tag rose astronomically. These men and women would not find work as hitmen. The asking price for murder was $100,000,000 for men and $500,000,000 for women.
Those more likely to murder for cash reside, just as with assault, in states like North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri. If you want to live in a state with residents less likely to kill for money, move to the mountain regions of the US; states like Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. Either way, it’s shocking and hard to believe that people would commit such acts with a monetary incentive. We must keep in mind that this is only hypothetical, and that when put to the test, many would likely back away from the prior convictions. At least let’s hope, anyway.