While commentators on the political right have exhibited little hesitation in identifying the factors they believe explain street crime, the left has demonstrated little appetite for engaging in the hunt for causal explanations in quite the same way. Indeed, if we consider how the left has addressed the problem of street robbery, it could be observed that, while it has produced highly sophisticated accounts of corporate crime and youth subculture, the same cannot be said of its approach to this perennial offence category. Three reasons can be cited to explain this sorry state of affairs. Firstly, as an offence that typically involves poor people preying on other poor people, the street robber has not provided the left with much that could sanction any meaningful politics of recognition. Secondly, when robbery has been considered worthy of analysis, explanations for it typically appear subsumed within more general theories of working-class crime. Finally, instead of explaining why certain populations become engaged in robbery, the left has often preferred to study the disproportionate social response this offence provokes. As this hesitation on the part of the left is itself of interest to this study, I will examine these factors in more detail. Though the tenor of this examination will remain critical, I will also suggest that, despite its hesitation, the left has made a number of important observations about street robbery that any comprehensive theory worthy of its name will need to accept and build upon.