Or maybe it goes back to the "honesty when you think you're being watched" thing, and they just think the trees are keeping an eye on them, like in the second Lord of the Rings movie. Or that they're full of cookie-making elves. Or they think Batman is hiding up there. It's hard to say, because criminals are really hard to get survey results from.
Signs of Other People Misbehaving
It seems humans just need any little excuse to be bad. All we need is for other people to break the ice of immorality, and we're ready to jump in with them.
For example, a parking lot with parking carts strewn willy-nilly is 28 percent more likely to get littered on than one that is clean. For some reason, once we see that someone else has misbehaved, even if we don't witness it, it gives our brains the go-ahead to be bad ourselves. It doesn't even have to be something directly related; seeing a broken window in a house might make you more likely to litter.
In one part of an exhaustive six-part study on this phenomenon, researchers left an envelope that obviously contained a 5-euro note in an open mailbox. Five euros isn't a lot of money, but most people would still say that the thought of stealing said money would never cross their minds. Well, a bunch of you would be wrong, and all it would take to change your I'm-totally-not-gonna-steal-from-random-strangers minds is a trashy-looking mailbox.
Literally anything you do to these people is justified.
While a "mere" 13 percent of people stole the money when the mailbox looked nice and taken care of, over a quarter of the random people who walked by stole the money if the mailbox was covered in graffiti.
This isn't new; the idea has been around for a while under the name the "broken window theory," which states that when we see broken windows around, we just assume it's a Thunderdome free-for-all for committing crimes.
Seriously: What the hell is wrong with us?
Maybe, as a species, we could agree to cut down on the meth?
Follow Kathy on Twitter, befriend her on Facebook or read the rest of her Cracked articles here.
Want to know what makes you a smart person? Our book. Buy it, dammit.
And see what else science has to say about how we act in 5 Douchebag Behaviors Explained by Science and 6 Obnoxious Old People Habits (Explained by Science).
And stop by Linkstorm to see which Cracked columnist has been stealing everyone's lunches.
And don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get sexy, sexy jokes sent straight to your news feed.
Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Do you possess expert skills in image creation and manipulation? Mediocre? Even rudimentary? Are you frightened by MS Paint and simply have a funny idea? You can create an infograpic and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!