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That makes them susceptible to thefts that are slightly more complicated than a typical smash-and-grab, but offer a huge potential payoff.
Thieves sometimes target works based on their own familiarity with the artist, rather than the artist's reputation in the art world or the theoretical value of the work.
A few American universities, including New York University, also offer courses on art crime.
"Art and antiquity crime is tolerated, in part, because it is considered a victimless crime," Wittman said in 2010.
In response to a growing public awareness of art theft and recovery, a number of not-for-profit and private companies now act both to record information about losses and oversee recovery efforts for claimed works of art.
See what the latest figures say • Download the data • More crime data • More data journalism and data visualisations from the Guardian There were 1.9m violent incidents in England and Wales in 2012-13, with just over one in fifty adults victimised, according to the latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), released today.
Violent crime has decreased by 13% over the past five years and 35% on the peak figure of 4.2m in 1995.