The relation between residential property and its surroundings and day- and night-time residential burglary
Summary (5 min read)
- Rational choice theory assumes that offenders pursue normal goals like non-offenders do:.
- The advantage of focusing on the built environment is that many characteristics are modifiable.
- CPTED studies reported that houses with front gardens and with symbolic barriers would have a lower risk.
- There might be several explanations of why this is important for deterring daytime burglary.
- The authors findings thereby support previous research about the importance of territoriality, but qualify it as well: Territoriality is important but only for daytime burglary.
- It is possible that having a front garden reflects surveillance because people sit or work there and provide informal surveillance.
- In support of this explanation, Kuo and Sullivan (2001) found that vegetation around buildings is associated with lower levels of crime.
- Three types of strategies were investigated: informal or natural, formal or organized, and mechanical.
- It was tested whether streets with higher speed limits were associated with higher risk because drivers had reduced surveillance opportunities.
- This illustrates that although conceptually, the CPTED concepts are clear, it is challenging to operationalize them into specific variables, and thus to identify concrete potential preventive measures.
- There was a tendency for the evidence of a dog to be associated with decreased night-time burglary.
- Two access control aspects were investigated: property and road structure.
- The bicycle’s higher mobility compared with that of a car could explain why the road layout is less important in a country such as the Netherlands.
- The relation between the physical condition and “image” of the built environment and crime and the fear of crime has long been acknowledged (Lynch, 1960).
- There are conflicting views as Wright and Decker (1994) consider that when selecting targets, burglars relate the size and condition of a house and the type of cars in the driveway to the type and value of the house’s contents.
- On the one hand, it seems possible that maintenance matters less by night due to low visibility, while on the other hand, the findings of Coupe and Blake (2006) suggest that the effect of maintenance might be confounded with the differences in target selection strategies of day- versus night-time burglars.
- This therefore suggests that it is necessary to control for neighborhood income.
- The authors investigated whether (a) there is lower burglary risk for houses close to buildings used for recreational, educational, commercial, or religious purposes; (b) medium intensity of vehicle and bicycle traffic at the nearest junction is associated with higher risk; and (c) medium intensity of pedestrian and vehicle traffic along the street segment is associated with higher risk.
- The authors findings contrast with those of many (Jacobs, 1961; Petterson, 1997; Poyner, 1983; Zelinka & Brennan, 2001) as no activity support variables were found to be statistically significant in the regression model.
- There is a tendency for proximity to commercial establishments to be associated with higher daytime burglary risk, which is in contrast to the expected beneficial surveillance effects.
- Therefore, “activity support” leads to increased risk rather than decreased risk, suggesting that the opportunity effect (i.e., bringing offenders to possible targets) is more important than the possible positive effects of increased surveillance.
- A possible explanation of the difference with previous research findings is that their study looked at proximity to specific land uses, rather than to land-use density.
- The study was carried out in Enschede, a city along the Dutch-German border.
- A case-control study involves the identification of “individuals” with (“cases”) and without (“controls”) a particular condition.
- The controls were selected randomly by the municipality of Enschede, out of a list containing all properties in the city.
- Four houses were not observed as they did not meet this study’s definition of residential property (refer to section “Concepts”).
- It was deemed unsuitable to select a neighboring house or a house from the same street as a control case due to “near repeat” victimization since research (Bernasco, 2008; Bowers & Johnson, 2004; Townsley, Homel, & Chaseling, 2003) shows that houses located near a burgled house have a higher victimization risk.
- The observation form that was used to collect information was based on a design by the University of Huddersfield (Armitage, 2006) and it was adapted to the Dutch context during a pilot phase.
- The most important adaptation related to the inclusion of proximity to non-residential activities and cyclingrelated characteristics.
- Differences identified in the coding were discussed and an appropriate guideline was developed to standardize coding.
- The data collection was carried out by observing the houses from the sidewalk or footpath.
- The observers were unaware whether the houses had been burgled or not.
- The Dutch police definition of burglary was used: “the theft from a house and/or attached storeroom, garage, shed, etc.” Burglary was measured using a four category variable: (a) not burgled, (b) burgled during the day, (c) burgled during the night, (d) burgled during both day and night (i.e., dual day/ night).
- Due to space limitations, the descriptive statistics of the dichotomous independent variables were simplified by describing them as if these were continuous variables (see Table 2).
- Residential stability was measured using the percentage of home owners and the length of stay in the neighborhood of the household head expressed in Territoriality 0.877 −.
- Offender availability was measured using the percentage of suspected residential burglars in a neighborhood, as recorded by the police.
- Cross-tabular statistics and Pearson chi-square values tested the relationship between a given dichotomous independent and the dichotomous dependent variable.
- For continuous variables, an independent-sample t test was used.
- Multilevel regression was used since the average correlation between the variables measured on houses from the same neighborhood is higher than that of houses from other neighborhoods (see Table 3).
- The variance inflation factor (i.e. VIF), a diagnostic measure of multicollinearity, indicated that two variables have values above 4 (i.e., home ownership = 4.31; social cohesion = 4.13).
- Finally, on the basis of the individual CPTED regressions, a multilevel multinomial logistic regression model of day- and night-time burglary was elaborated using only those variables with p values below .10 on either the day- or the night-time parts of the model.
- Table 2 summarizes the results of the descriptive statistics of the 42 dichotomous and 5 continuous control variables.
- It also presents the bivariate analyses between daytime, night-time burglary, and dual day/night-time and each of the characteristics.
- That is, it is not only the opposite of what was expected, but it is not likely that this result happened by chance.
- For comparability, the model contained the same 17 variables in the dayand night-time parts of the model (2 of which were control variables).
- The model shows that daytime burglary is related to territoriality and access control.
- Specifically, having a front garden associated with lower daytime burglary, while holding all other variables constant (RRR1 = 0.46, for example, houses that have a front garden have 0.46 times lower risk of being burgled than those that do not have such feature).
- Being an un-detached house is also associated with lower daytime burglary risk (RRR = 0.55).
- Neighborhood stability reduces the likelihood of daytime burglaries (RRR = 0.89).
- Proximity to commercial establishments (i.e., activity support) and window screening (i.e., target hardening) were on the verge of statistical significance (RRR = 1.45 and 0.49, respectively).
- The model shows that night-time burglary is related to access control and target hardening.
- The results show that being an un-detached house is associated with lower night-time burglary, while holding all other variables constant (RRR = 0.68).
- Window screening is also associated with lower night-time burglary risk (RRR = 0.44).
- Three variables were on the verge of statistical significance.
- Finally, offender availability was associated with a large increase in burglary risk (RRR = 11.58).
- The aim of this study was to investigate whether (a) burgled houses and nonburgled houses differ with respect to the CPTED concepts and whether (b) a day and night effect exists.
- To account for several plausible alternative explanations, the analysis controlled for target attractiveness, social cohesion, and offender availability.
- In addition, the multilevel analysis took the ICC (i.e., nesting within neighborhoods) into account.
- First, this study found that 34.7% of the burglaries took place during the night while 65.3% took place during the daytime.
- Many of these relationships disappeared in the multivariate analysis.
- The authors examined whether risk is lower when there is good maintenance of (a) the house, (b) neighboring houses, (c) window and door frames, and when (d) the front garden is attractive.
- In contrast to the findings of other researchers (Hedayati Marzbali et al., 2012; Pruitt et al., 2000; Ross & Mirowsky, 1999; Taylor, 1991; Wilson & Kelling, 1982), this study found that good house or neighborhood maintenance is not associated with lower burglary.
- It is possible that the relatively homogeneous level of upkeep of Dutch neighborhoods explains why image maintenance does not predict burglary.
Application and Synthesis
- There are a number of practical design recommendations that stem from these findings.
- For proper decision making, the stakeholder(s) that would be involved in the modification of a particular property or property surrounding characteristic should be first identified.
- In addition, further analyses are required before a decision can be made about the selection of measures.
- Second, the time and costs associated with physical adaptation measures should also be evaluated.
- Without being exhaustive, next some practical recommendations are presented.
- The visibility into the back gardens should be blocked by means of fences or tall and dense bushes.
- Window screening is often seen as an expensive home improvement to reduce crime risk and increase thermal insulation.
- This research has confirmed that particularly for those who work night shifts, it is a worthwhile option.
Local Governments/Property Developers
- It is worth noting that the operationalization of some concepts can highlight ambiguities.
- Some aspects of territoriality (e.g., “front garden”) may be better conceived as “informal surveillance.”.
- The authors conclusion is that CPTED concepts provide an important framework for studying burglary although further research is needed to fill-in some gaps.
- From the management viewpoint, a number of design recommendations were discussed.
Potential Research Design Improvements
- There are four areas where the research design could be further fine-tuned.
- Second, the existence of street lights along the sidewalk could be limited by, for example, actual illumination and vegetation.
- Third, the research design (i.e., observations) could cause underestimation in the case of target hardening as there is sometimes a deliberate effort to conceal objects.
- Similarly, measures implemented as the result of a burglary cannot be identified through this method.
- A survey of home owners could therefore complement the collected data.
- This article was possible thanks to the burglary data set provided by Krista Smid, Marga Nieborg, and Herman Meuleman (Municipality of Enschede) and Axel Zengerink (Police Department).
- The authors also wish to thank Feike Aantjes, Mark Broekhuis, Kim Brunninkhuis, Elise Spanjer, and Aniek Oude Alink for the field data collection, as well as Marcus Felson and Ken Pease for providing valuable comments on a previous version of this article.
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Cites background from "The relation between residential pr..."
...Another study conducted in the Netherlands found that territoriality and access control significantly influenced daytime burglary rates ....
"The relation between residential pr..." refers background in this paper
...%) had an ICC of 0.40 or higher, which represents medium to high correlation values (J. W. Cohen, 1988)....
"The relation between residential pr..." refers background in this paper
...The ICC consists of a ratio between rating variance to total variance, and compares the covariance of the ratings with the total variance (Shrout & Fleiss, 1979)....
"The relation between residential pr..." refers background or result in this paper
...The principle of activity support is mainly attributed to Jacobs (1961), but the New Urbanism movement has widely disseminated it....
...The systematic zoning of areas for particular uses reduces the number of potential “eyes on the street” (Jacobs, 1961), while mixed land-use patterns contribute to a safer, more vital public realm (Zelinka & Brennan, 2001)....
...The origins of CPTED can be traced mainly to the 60s and 70s (Angel, 1968; Jacobs, 1961; Jeffery, 1971; Newman, 1972; Robinson, 2013)....
...Our findings contrast with those of many (Jacobs, 1961; Petterson, 1997; Poyner, 1983; Zelinka & Brennan, 2001) as no activity support variables were found to be statistically significant in the regression model....
"The relation between residential pr..." refers background in this paper
...In line with Sampson, Raudenbush, and Earls (1997), the measure of residential stability, namely length of stay, was associated with lower day- but not to night-time burglary....
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Q1. What contributions have the authors mentioned in the paper "The relation between residential property and its surroundings and day- and night-time residential burglary" ?
This article examines how residential property and its surroundings influence dayand night-time residential burglary. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design ( CPTED ) principles of territoriality, surveillance, access control, target hardening, image maintenance, and activity support underpin the study.