Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Glossary

# 3-D Mapping High-definition mapping that portrays locations within buildings.
80-20 rule The principle that a few people or places are involved in a large proportion of events.
A Abatement; Abatement procedure See Nuisance Abatement
Acute hot spots Hot spots that suddenly appear, i.e., have not been present for a long time, not chronic (See Chronic hotspots and Chronic problems).
Acute temporal clustering A very high concentration of crime in a small part of 24-hour cycles.
Acute troubles Transient sets of recurring events that might go away without engaging in problem-solving activities, but could also evolve into chronic problems.
Adjudicated offender A juvenile whose case has been processed by a court of law; implies a finding of guilt. Similar to the term "convicted offender," which is more often used to refer to adults.
Analysis The second stage in the SARA process, involving systematic examination of the problem to identify possible causes that might be susceptible to responses.
Anonymous drug testing Testing for illicit substances in the urine, or less frequently, the blood, wherein there is no record of the donor's name.
Anticipatory benefits Benefits from crime prevention that begin prior to initiation of crime prevention treatment.
Anticipatory benefits, pseudo The appearance of anticipatory benefits caused by smoothing data (i.e., the use of a moving average).
Antisocial behavior order Also ASBO; a civil order used in the United Kingdom to prohibit certain troublesome behaviors on the part of an individual or a group of people. ASBOs are issued by the magistrate's court after application by the police or local authority in consultation with each other. Breach of an ASBO can result in arrest and the laying of criminal charges. Similar to a Restraining Order in the US.
Aoristic analysis A statistical method for determining the 24-hour rhythm of crimes when the exact time of crime commission is unknown.
Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring System (ADAM) Federal research problem that provides program planning and policy information on drug abuse by arrestees. Through interviews and drug testing, communities are able to assess the dimensions of their substance abuse problems, evaluate interventions with offender populations and plan appropriate policy or program responses. Formerly known as the Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) program.
Assessment The fourth stage in the SARA process, involving evaluating the effectiveness of the response.
Asset forfeiture A civil remedy that allows the police or another authorized agency to seize the proceeds or tools of crime (primarily serious drug-related crime such as trafficking). Examples include the seizure of a drug lord's house or a vehicle used to transport illegal narcotics. In many jurisdictions, asset forfeiture provides a significant source of funds for police agencies. The practice of asset forfeiture is controversial because there is a relatively low standard of proof required before seizure is permitted.
Attractors, Crime Areas of criminal opportunities well known to offenders.
Autodialer A device that dials telephone numbers automatically, and which typically delivers a prerecorded message when the telephone is answered.
B Bedroom community A primarily residential area in which most residents commute to work, thus leaving the neighborhood relatively empty during the day.
Behaviors One of two criteria for classifying problems describing aspects of harm, intent, and offender-target relationships (see Environments).
Block Watch See Neighborhood Watch
Boost accounts An explanation for repeat victimization suggesting that the rewards to the offender for the first crime encourage the offender to repeat the offense against the same victim or to tell other offenders who then attack the same victim (see Flag accounts)
Broad-spectrum treatments Crime prevention measures, which are effective against a wide variety of methods for committing a type of crime.
Broken windows A policy-oriented explanation of crime which states that minor signs of disorder in a neighborhood, left unchecked, can result in more severe disorder and ultimately serious crime. The term comes from an influential 1982 article in The Atlantic Monthly by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling.
Broken windows policing A proposed policing strategy based on the principles that small offenses add up to destroy community life and that small offenses encourage larger ones, consequently police should pay particular attention to disorders.
Buffer zone Area around a place or area – often an area around a facility, hot spot, or treatment area.
Business improvement district Also BID; a non-profit organization comprising business owners within a specific geographic area (and less commonly, residents), who agree to pay funds in addition to usual tax burdens for services not provided by the local government. BID activities typically include street beautification, cleaning, and security patrols.
Business Watch program Similar to Neighborhood Watch programs for residents, Business Watch programs involve information sharing about crime prevention and specific crimes among business people in an area. Typical activities of such programs include staff training on the prevention of retail crime, systematic communication with the police, and crime reporting.
Buy-bust operation, “buy-busts” Undercover police operation in which an officers poses as a drug user to identify and arrest drug sellers. See also Reverse buys
C Call-for-service A call received by police indicating that someone needs assistance.
Case-control study A systematic comparison of troublesome persons, places, times, or events to untroublesome ones to find out the characteristics that might cause the problem. This type of study is particularly useful when troublesome cases are a very small proportion of all cases.
Cases The people, places, and events you are studying – offenders, targets, victims, facilities, time periods (e.g., months or weeks), crimes and so forth. In case-control studies, cases are the problem people, places, or events (see Case-control and Controls).
Cautioning In the United Kingdom, the official warning of those who have committed minor offenses.
CCTV Closed-circuit television; a system where images from a camera are relayed to a monitor or other device (such as a video cassette recorder - VCR) through wiring rather than broadcast through the air.
CHEERS Acronym for elements of defining a problem: Community, Harm, Expectation, Events, Recurring, and Similarity
Chronic hot spots Hot spots that persist for a long time (see Acute hot spots).
Chronic locations Geographic cites or places, such as street corners or businesses, which are repeatedly involved in criminal events.
Chronic offenders Individuals with long-term and persistent offending histories.
Chronic problems Long-term sets of recurring events that show no sign of abating and are largely resistant to traditional police work.
Chronic victims Individuals with long-term and persistent victimization histories.
Chronic victimization Long-term sets of recurring offending events related to people or places.
Citation A written order issued by a police officer directing one to appear in a specific court on a specific date and time to answer to criminal charges.
Citizen survey The collection of information through the administration of a questionnaire by telephone, mail, or in person, to citizens within a jurisdiction. Typically used to assess the public's satisfaction with the police, identify crime and disorder problems, or determine rates of victimization.
Citizens' academy A training program run by police departments for civilians with the purpose of increasing public knowledge about police activities, procedures, and policies. Usually involves multiple sessions and instruction on crime investigation, police duties, and criminal law.
Civil action Any lawsuit brought to enforce private rights and to remedy violations of those rights.
Civil forfeiture Body of law related to the seizure of private property by law enforcement.
Civil remedy Any number of legal orders that prevent or redress a wrong in a civil action. See also Nuisance Abatement
Civil injunction Court order commanding someone to do some specified act or to refrain from doing some act that would injure another person by violating his or her person or property rights.
Civil liability In tort law, the basis for a cause of action to recover damages.
Civil liberty group A group of people organized around the purpose of promoting and protecting civil rights, such as those guaranteed in the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. An example of such a group is the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Civil recovery A mechanism for those who have suffered property losses to recoup those costs from offenders through civil law proceedings.
Civil tort action A lawsuit alleging a private or civil wrong or injury (other than a breach of contract) for which the court will provide a remedy in the form of an action for damages.
Clearance rate The percentage of offenses known to the police that have been solved by arrest. Statistic used as a measure of a police department's efficiency.
Cocoon watches A variation of Neighborhood Watch, wherein the residents in the houses adjacent to a recently burgled property are instructed to be extra vigilant about the possibility of a repeat burglary at the same location.
Code enforcement A division of government (usually local) responsible for the enforcement of regulations, codes, ordinances or by-laws relating to public health, safety and the environment.
Community policing A policing strategy that attempts to address the central difficulty of conducting police business – gaining the support of the local community.
Community revitalization A process of improving the economic and living standards of disadvantaged or depressed communities, with the particular goal of fostering a sense of belonging or community cohesion. Community revitalization can include, for example, affordable housing initiatives, planning and economic development programs.
Community service A sentence, which in lieu of or in addition to other sanctions, requires the offender to perform service to the community in the form of public works or volunteering with social agencies (such as hospitals).
Computer mapping Also known as crime mapping; the use of geographic information systems to create maps illustrating patterns in crime occurrences, arrests, offender addresses, or other types of point-based data.
Conditional release The release of a prisoner whose full sentence has not been served and whose freedom is contingent on obeying specified rules of behavior.
Conflict resolution Means by which individuals or groups resolve their differences through a process of discussion and negotiation.
Content The substantive information in a table or figure.
Control group A group of people or an area that is similar to the treatment group or area, but does not receive treatment. Used in evaluations to control for the impact of other, non-treatment influences on crime (see Controls [for analysis]).
Controls (for analysis) Statistical and evaluation design procedures to isolate the effect of one factor on some outcome from that of others. A group of people or areas not getting a response that are compared to those receiving the response to show what would have happened to the response group, if the response group had not received the intervention (see Control group)
Controls (in case-control studies) In a case-control study, controls are those people, places, times or events that do not have the outcome being studied - in contrast to cases which do have the outcome. For example, in a case-control study of high assault bars, the cases are bars with many assaults and the controls are bars with few or no assaults (see Cases, and Case-control).
Controls (on offenders and places) People and situations that reduce potential offenders’ willingness or capabilities to commit crimes.
Correlation A measure of association between two characteristics.
Costs Expenses or hardships associated with criminal events or prevention measures.
CPTED See Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design
Crackdown Sudden and dramatic increases in police officer presence, sanctions, and threats of apprehension either for specific offenses or for all offenses in a specific place.
CRAVED Acronym describing the characteristics of items most likely to be stolen: Concealable, Removable, Available, Valuable, Enjoyable, and Disposable.
Crime mapping See Computer Mapping
Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) Also CPTED; developed by C. Ray Jeffery in the 1970s in response to the ineffectiveness of the criminal justice system in preventing crime; focuses on the importance of surveillance, boundary definition, access control, territoriality, and the relation between land use and activity locations. CPTED principles can be implemented during a property or building's design phase, or can guide later alterations to the environment.
Crime triangle See problem analysis triangle
Crime-neutral areas Areas attracting neither offenders nor targets, with adequate controls on behaviors.
Crime-victim lawsuit A lawsuit brought by a victim of crime against a property owner, typically alleging a failure to provide reasonable levels of security or the creation of conditions that facilitate criminal victimization.
Criminal mischief Vandalism
Cruising Term used to describe the process of repeatedly driving up and down a particular street or strip of road, usually performed by youth.
Cyberstalking The use of electronic equipment, such as the Internet and related forms of communication, to annoy, alarm or threaten a particular individual or group.
Cycles Regular fluctuations in crime that correspond to daily, weekly, monthly, annual or longer changes in human activity.
D DAWN survey Drug Abuse Warning Network; in the United States, a survey of hospital emergency rooms and medical examiner facilities across the country; data are collected on the scope and magnitude of drug abuse.
Decoy Person, device or event used as a distraction or bait. See also, entrapment
Dedicated patrols Police or security patrols specifically focused on a particular area or a particular type of crime.
Defiance Offenders challenge the legitimacy of prevention efforts and commit more offenses rather than fewer.
Delivery fraud Theft or fraud committed by delivery personnel. Examples include shorting orders, altering invoices, or colluding with employees to commit theft or fraud.
Den (of iniquity) problems Problem characterized by substantial involvement of repeat places (see Problem Analysis Triangle, place). Occurs when new potential offenders and new potential targets encounter each other in a place where management is weak.
Diffused temporal clustering A relatively even, or random, spread of crime throughout 24-hour cycles.
Diffusion contamination Occurs when diffusion of benefits influences the control group or area during an evaluation. Leads to undervaluing the treatment (see Displacement contamination).
Diffusion of benefits The spread of the beneficial influence of a crime prevention intervention beyond the places that are directly targeted, the individuals who are the subject of control, the crimes that are the focus of intervention, or the time periods in which an intervention is brought.
Diffusion of benefits, crime type Additional crime types blocked
Diffusion of benefits, geographical Additional prevention over space
Diffusion of benefits, tactical Additional methods thwarted
Diffusion of benefits, target Additional targets protected
Diffusion of benefits, temporal Additional prevention over time
Diffusion-Displacement sites Areas used to detect diffusion of benefits and displacement that are separate from control group and treatment group.
Directed patrols Police patrol activity targeted at particular locations where crimes are believed to be prevalent and/or against particular illegal conduct.
Displace See Displacement
Displacement A change in crime patterns as a consequence of a crime prevention initiative, in terms of criminal methods, tactics, places, or times. Research on displacement has found that it is not an inevitable result of crime prevention, and that even when it does happen, it is less than 100%. See also Geographic Displacement
Displacement contamination Occurs when crime is displaced into the control group or area during an evaluation. Leads to inflation of effectiveness (see Diffusion contamination).
Displacement countermeasures Prevention implemented to prevent expected displacement.
Displacement, crime type Offenders change type of crime.
Displacement, geographical Offenders move spatially.
Displacement, tactical Offenders switch method for committing crime.
Displacement, target Offenders switch type of target or victim.
Displacement, temporal Offenders switch time or day.
Distribution Statistical technique showing how many cases, or the proportion of cases, which have each of the values for a particular variable.
Display dressing Setting up of retail displays, such as dressing mannequins and organizing window displays.
Disposition The conclusion of a criminal or juvenile case proceeding. Also used to refer to the sentencing outcome of a criminal case.
District attorney A local government official who represents the government in bringing indictments and prosecuting criminal cases. May be elected in some jurisdictions. Similar to prosecuting attorney, state's attorney, Crown counsel, Crown prosecutor.
Diversion program A program designed to divert first-time or minor offenders away from formal adjudication in the criminal justice system. The intake to a diversion program occurs before court hearing on the case; successful completion of the program typically results in the dismissal of the charges.
Drug-free school zone An area encircling a school (usually with a 1000-foot radius) where penalties for drug-related crimes are significantly increased.
Duck (sitting) problems Problems characterized by substantial involvement of repeat victims (see Crime Triangle). Occurs when victims continually interact with potential offenders at different places, but the victims do not increase their precautionary measures and their guardians are either absent or ineffective.
Duress alarm Also known as a panic alarm; a silent panic button alarm, worn on the wrist or as a pendant around the neck, or fixed to a wall or a similar location, such as under a desk or a counter.
E Edges Boundaries between areas where people live, work, shop, or seek entertainment.
Electronic tagging Also known as electronic article surveillance; a shoplifting prevention method which involves affixing a tag to an item or to its packaging. Exit gates detect tags that were removed or deactivated at the point-of-sale, and sound an alarm.
Emergency room mention A statistic collected by the government of a patient reporting to a hospital with a drug-related emergency.
Enablers, crime Places with little regulation of behavior.
Entrapment The act of inducing a person to commit a crime so that a criminal charge can be brought against him.
Environment A criterion for classifying problems describing where the problem takes place (see Behaviors).
Environmental Criminology The study of crime patterns, including clustering of crime and victimization. It incorporates a number of compatible theories, including rational choice theory, routine activity theory, crime pattern (or offender search) theory, and situational crime prevention. In short, it looks at the interaction of offenders, victims and places. Unlike traditional criminology, environmental criminology is far less interested in questions of why people become offenders. Instead, environmental criminologists are interested in how offenders perceive their environment, how they make choices to offend (or not), and how we can manipulate the environment to get them to make non-crime choices.
Environmental protection officer A government official whose primary duties are the investigation of crimes against the environment and the enforcement of environmental laws (such as those prohibiting the pollution of the air or water by solid waste, pesticides, radiation, or toxic substances).
F Facilitators Physical items, social situations or chemical substances that help offenders commit crimes or acts of disorder.
Facilitators, chemical Substances that increase offenders’ ability to ignore risk, reward, or excuses.
Facilitators, physical Things that augment offenders’ capabilities, help overcome prevention measures, or incite deviancy.
Facilitators, social Situations that provide support that stimulates crime or disorder by enhancing rewards from crime, legitimating excuses to offend, or by encouraging offending.
Facilities Places that have special functions, like schools, businesses, and restaurants.
Facilities, risky Facilities that are frequent sites for crime and disorder.
Faith-based groups or organizations A group, organization or program providing some form of human/community service, with a faith/religious element integrated into their mission.
False negative An error in which the decision-maker predicts something will not occur, but it does occur. Also known as a Type 1 error.
False positive An error in which the decision-maker predicts something will occur, but it does not occur. Also known as a Type 2 error.
Fencing The act of receiving and selling stolen goods.
Flag accounts An explanation for repeat victimization that suggests that some people are particularly vulnerable because of their occupation or their ownership of hot products (see Boost accounts).
Focused temporal clustering Clustering of crime in distinct time ranges during 24-hour periods.
Framework, story A general “story shell” linking multiple interacting factors and that can be applied to a variety of problems.
G Generators, crime Areas to which large numbers of people are attracted for reasons unrelated to criminal motivation.
Geographic displacement When, in response to crime prevention measures, offenders move from targets in one geographic area to targets in another geographic area.
Geographic probation A condition of probation requiring the probationer to stay away from certain places, or to remain within specified geographic areas.
Graded response The response increases in intensity or form as the number of repeat victimization increases. An intervention used to reduce repeat victimization.
Guardians People who look out for targets and try to protect them from theft, attack, destruction, or harm. Formal guardians are people who are assigned to look out for the targets, like security guards. Informal guardians are people who look out for targets without such assignment. Such people may be friends, neighbors, employees, and sometimes strangers.
H Handler Someone who knows the offender well and who is in a position to exert some control over his or her actions.
Harm reduction Efforts to reduce the harms resulting from criminal behavior that do not attempt to prevent the behavior itself. An example is needle exchange programs, which are designed to reduce diseases associated with intravenous drug use.
Holding facility A place where arrested people are kept for a short period of time until they are released or transferred to a more long-term facility.
Home Office The British equivalent of the U.S. Department of Justice, which has funded much research on crime prevention.
Hot areas Types of hot spot showing neighborhoods where crime is concentrated.
Hot dots Types of hot spot showing locations with high crime levels.
Hot lines Types of hot spot showing street segments where crime is concentrated.
Hot products Items that are most attractive to thieves, such as cash, manufactured goods, food, animals, and works of art.
Hot times Type of hot spot showing temporal variations in which crime is concentrated.
Hot spot A geographic concept; a place (or address) that has a high rate of reported crimes or calls for police assistance.
Housing authority A branch of government responsible for providing or locating housing for low-income people, and for administering and maintaining the government-owned properties where these people are housed.
Housing voucher Government aid to supplement rent payments provided to low-income people to facilitate their movement out of public housing into the private housing market. See Section 8.
Hypothesis An answer to a question about a problem that can be true or false, and may or may not be supported by evidence.
I Impact evaluation A research study to determine if the response changed the problem.
Incapacitate A sentencing goal; when offenders are imprisoned with the primary purpose of preventing their involvement in criminal behavior.
Index crimes See UCR index crimes
Informal surveillance See Natural Surveillance
Informant Person who supplies information.
Informed consent A person's voluntary agreement, based upon adequate knowledge and understanding of relevant information, to participate in research or to undergo a diagnostic, therapeutic, or preventive procedure. It is also a statement of trust between the institution performing the research procedure and the person (eg, a patient) on whom the research procedures are to be performed, which is documented by means of a written, signed, and dated informed consent form.
Inner quartile range The upper and lower bounds of the 50% of the cases centered on the median.
Input Resources employed in a response.
Intelligence-led The application of criminal intelligence analysis as a decision making tool to facilitate crime reduction and prevention strategies.
Intensive Supervision Program An intermediate probation or parole program in which the officer-offender ratio is low, offenders receive frequent visits from their officer supervisors, and continuous communication is maintained by the supervising agency or authority.
Intervention The response being applied to a problem (also called a treatment or response – see Response)
J Jail A correctional facility where persons are detained after arrest, remanded before trial, or sentenced for short periods (generally no longer than two years).
Joyriding Theft of a vehicle for the purposes of driving it around for a short period of time, and with the intent to then abandon the vehicle or return it to its rightful owner.
Just desserts A sentencing philosophy, the main proposition of which is that punishment should be proportional to the offence, and not based on extra-legal factors.
Just-in-time delivery A growing practice among businesses to maintain limited inventories, and arrange for delivery of the items immediately before they are needed for manufacture or placement on the sales floor.
Juvenile diversion program See Diversion Program
K Key security Strategies used to prevent the theft or temporary misappropriation of keys.
L Licensing ordinance A by-law or municipal regulation specifying conditions under which businesses must operate in order to receive a business license.
M Malicious mischief Vandalism
Manager A person who has some responsibility for controlling behavior in a specific location. Their primary interest is in the smooth functioning of the location or place. Mangers include store clerks, property mangers, lifeguards, and librarians.
Mandatory minimum A sentence that specifies the amount of time that must be served in prison before the offender can be eligible for parole.
Mean A measure of central tendency, also known as the arithmetical average, calculated by summing the values for all the cases and dividing the sum by the number of cases. Useful for ratio data and symmetrical distributions.
Median A measure of central tendency that divides the cases into two equal groups, half below the median value and half above.
Mode A measure of central tendency that shows the value that the largest number of cases posses.
Modus operandi Latin term meaning “method of operation,” used to refer to a criminal’s preferred method for committing crime, their habitual methods or procedures.
Motivated offender In the Routine Activities approach, a motivated offender is considered a necessary part of a criminal act, along with a "suitable target" and the lack of a "capable guardian."
Moving average A method for reducing random fluctuation in a time series by recomputing the value for every data point based on the average of preceding time periods (see Smoothing).
N National Institute of Justice (NIJ) The research, development and evaluation agency of the United States Department of Justice. See also: U.S. Department of Justice
Natural surveillance An element of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED); involves ensuring clear sight-lines
Near repeats See Virtual repeats
Neighborhood watch Organization of residents who provide surveillance of each other's property, report suspicious behavior to the police, and take precautions to prevent crime.
Nodes Destination places such as home, work, shopping, entertainment, and school (see Paths).
Nominal Scale Values consist of name only and cannot be ranked.
Nuisance abatement A civil action taken against the owner of a property to stop certain behavior on the property or improve conditions of the property. Specific abatement procedures vary across jurisdictions, but typically they include sending warning letters to property owners, issuing injunctions and evicting tenants, or more rarely, seizure of the property. See also Civil Remedy.
Nuisance law See Nuisance Ordinance
Nuisance ordinance A by-law or municipal regulation concerning noise, odors, or unsightly premises.
O Odds Ratio A measure of association between two characteristics; useful when a case-control study is used.
Offender A person who commits a crime or act of disorder.
Offenders, repeat People who commit many crimes or acts of disorder (see Wolf).
Opportunity Short for “crime opportunity structure” and meaning the physical and social arrangements that make crime possible.
Ordinal scale A measurement scale in which values can be ranked but no other mathematical process can be applied to them.
Ordinance A by-law or municipal regulation
Outcome The impact of the response on the problem.
Outreach services Social, legal, and health services that are brought to persons in need, in contrast to these services that require visiting a central office. Examples include mobile needle exchanges, satellite offices of service agencies, and many community social workers.
P Packaging The lines and labels used in tables and figures (see Content). Small amounts are needed to help interpret content, but large amounts obscure content.
Paths Routes connecting nodes.
Peer mediation A process by which persons in dispute with each other are brought together in order to discuss solutions to the conflict and reconciliation, and where the neutral party guiding the process is a peer, or equal. In schools, other students conduct peer mediation.
Perceptions, offenders’ How offenders view situations and prevention measures.
Place A very small area, such as an address, street corner, or block face (see Crime Triangle, Den). Such locations or areas include stores, bars, school classrooms, homes, street corners, specific addresses, and other small sites. Neighborhoods are collections of places. Consequently, in a neighborhood a controller may not be near enough to the offender, target and place to prevent crime. Similarly, an offender may be in a neighborhood yet be too far from a place with an attractive target to commit a crime.
Place manager See Place and Manager
Plea bargaining Also known as plea negotiating; the discussions between prosecuting and defense attorneys, wherein the accused agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a reduction in the number or seriousness of charges, or a recommendation by the prosecutor for leniency in sentencing.
POP See Problem-Oriented Policing
POP Guides Summaries of research and practice dealing with specific problems, which additionally recommend particular responses.
Predatory crime A (usually) violent crime with a human victim, such as robbery or rape; contrasted with "victimless" crime, such as drug use or prostitution
Problem A recurring set of related harmful events in a community that members of the public expect the police to address.
Problem analysis triangle A graphic showing the six principle elements of routine activity theory – offenders, handlers, targets/victims, guardians, places, and managers – and used to organize the analysis of problems.
Problem-Oriented Policing Policing that changes the conditions that give rise to recurring crime problems, and does not simply rely on responding to incidents as they occur or forestalling them through preventive patrols.
Process evaluation Assessing how a response was implemented.
Prolific offender A person with a long history of offending behavior who has also committed many crimes.
Provocations Physical designs or the way places are managed that provoke misconduct.
p-value The probability that the difference between two sets of statistics is due to randomness (see Significance test)
Q Quasi-public A space that is generally open to the public, despite being private property. A shopping mall is an example of such a space.
R Random fluctuations Short-term changes in problems caused by a large number of very small effects.
Range A measure of dispersion showing the minimum and maximum value in a distribution.
Rates, crime The ratio of crimes to targets for an area. Used to control for differences in the number of targets (see Risk, crime).
Ratio scale A measurement scale in which there are equal intervals between the ranked values and a theoretically meaningful zero.
Rational Choice Theories Set of theories examining how offenders, and others, make decisions.
Regression to the mean The tendency for abnormal high or low levels of crime to move back to their normal levels.
Repeat location A geographic area or place, which has been victimized more than once during a certain period of time.
Repeat offenders See Offenders, repeat
Repeat offenses Crimes committed more than once by the same offender or against the same victim/target.
Repeat targets See Victim, repeat
Repeat victim A person or property that has been victimized more than once in a certain period of time.
Repeat victimization Generally refers to a pattern of harm suffered by a single target (person, place or object) over a period of time. The term has been used to refer to a series of criminal incidents related to a specific crime (i.e., domestic violence or burglary); a series of various criminal incidents (i.e., domestic violence and burglary); or series of criminal incidents committed by a single offender/multiple offenders against a single target/multiple targets.
Replacement offender A person who assumes the activities of an offender who was removed from the streets.
Response The third stage in the SARA process, involving the development and implementation of an intervention designed to reduce a problem. Also a term for the preventive treatment or intervention being applied (see Intervention or Treatment).
Response group People or places receiving prevention, in contrast to control group.
Restitution Money paid by offenders to victims to compensate victims for their losses or injuries resulting from a crime. Restitution can also take the form of free labor.
Restorative justice A philosophy that emphasizes the restoration of the community, the return of the offender to the community, and the reparation of damages to victims; contrasts with retributive philosophies, which emphasize punishment.
Restraining order A court order prohibiting certain behavior, or prohibiting one person from coming too close to another. Similar to Anti-Social Behaviour Orders in the UK.
Results Activities accomplished in a response.
Reverse buys Undercover police operation in which an officer poses as a drug dealer to identify and arrest drug buyers/users. See also buy-bust operations
Revitalization See Community revitalization
Reverse sting operations Undercover police operation in which an officer poses as an offender (i.e., a prostitute) in order to gather evidence of criminal conduct or make an arrest.
Risk, crime The chance a target will be involved in a crime.
Revictimization See Repeat victimization
Routine Activity Theory One of the main theories of “environmental criminology.” Formulated by criminologists Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson, the theory states that predatory crime occurs when a likely offenders and suitable target come together in time and space, without a capable guardian present. The theory incorporates the crime triangle, sometimes referred to as the “problem analysis triangle.”
S SARA Acronym for the problem solving process (see Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment).
Scanning The first stage in the SARA process, involving problem identification, verification, and classification.
School counselor A school employee, similar to a social worker, who helps students deal with personal and academic problems.
School Resource Officer (SRO) School resource officers are generally considered to be a component of community oriented policing. In this position, a law enforcement is permanently placed within a school to address student problems in a manner that does not require judicial involvement. The officer acts as a resource for students, parents, teachers and administrators regarding issues of law, and acts as a link to other service agencies who provide various preventive and counseling services within the school district.
Scripts Standard actions carried out in a particular order by offenders to commit crimes.
Section 8 A rent subsidy program of the United States federal government designed to assist low-income families in moving from public housing into the private housing market.
Shrinkage A business term used to describe the difference between actual inventory and expected inventory. In retail, shrinkage can be caused by shoplifting, employee theft, other theft, and administrative error.
Significance level A threshold below which one rejects the possibility that the difference between two sets of statistics is due to randomness. Often .05 (or 5%) is the rejection threshold (see Significance test).
Significance test A statistical procedure used to determine whether the difference between two groups of numbers is due to randomness.
Situational Crime Prevention The science of reducing opportunities for crime.
Smart Card A small plastic card with electronic memory, about the size of a credit card, which can be loaded with various types of data.
Smoothing Removing random fluctuations from a time series by using a moving average (see Moving average).
Solicitation permit A permit allowing a person to solicit others for monetary donations.
Spillover effect See Diffusion of Benefits
Standard deviation A very common measure of spread useful for symmetrical distributions and ratio data.
Standard model Policing that relates primarily on the use of patrolling, rapid response, and follow-up investigations to prevent crime.
Stay away order See Restraining order
Sting operation Undercover police operation in which an officer or cooperative citizen poses as a “criminal partner” or “potential victim” in order to gather evidence of criminal conduct or make an arrest.
Summonses An order to appear in person at a given place and time, which is issued by an authority of the law.
Sweep Law enforcement action designed to clean a particular area of offenders. See also: Crackdown.
T Target The person or thing an offender attacks, takes, or harms (see Victim); also the focus of intervention during a response.
Target area Location-focused of intervention of a response, such as a neighborhood, street corner or business.
Target hardening The process of making residences, businesses and people less susceptible or vulnerable to criminal acts through a variety of security measures.
Targets at risk Persons or things vulnerable to being attacked, taken, or harmed.
Task force A temporary organizational unit responsible for accomplishing a specific mission, such as reducing car thefts.
Temporal clustering Concentration of crime over 24 hours (see Acute, Diffused, and Focused temporal clustering).
Temporary injunctive relief A short-term order issued by a court commanding someone to do some specified act or to refrain from doing some act until the matter can be presented more fully to a court. See also Civil Injunction
Three-strikes law A law enacted in many US states, which mandates a lengthy minimum sentence for those convicted of their third felonies.
Time-window effect The underestimation of repeat victimization due to using a set time period.
Tools Physical devices that offenders, potential victims, guardians, and managers use to accomplish their objectives. Some tools require special information to use well and some tools require maintenance.
Town center management (TCM) The management of a shopping mall or shopping center.
Transitional neighborhood An area that was once economically distressed, but which is experiencing income gains due to new investments and/or new jobs.
Trash analysis Examination of discarded garbage for evidence in criminal investigations.
Treatment See Response or Intervention
Treatment area Areas receiving the response in contrast to control areas (see Response group).
Treatment group See Response group
Trend A steady increase, decrease, or stable level of crime over some period of time.
U UCR In the United States, Uniform Crime Reports. This is an annual publication of the federal government based on information about crimes collected by local and state police agencies.
UCR index crimes See also UCR; In the United States, an index of the eight crimes considered to be the most serious, namely homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, arson, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. These crimes are also known as "Part I" offenses. The index is often used for comparisons over time and across jurisdictions.
Uncontrolled case study A comparison of troublesome persons, places, times, or events without examining similar untroublesome ones. The results of such a study are often highly misleading.
Undercover Police intelligence operation in which the officer’s identity is concealed to gain the trust of an individual or organization.
U.S. Department of Defense, a.k.a. Defense Department Cabinet department responsible for coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions related to national security and the military. The U.S. Secretary of Defense, who is nominated by the President, administers this department.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Cabinet department responsible for providing essential human services and protecting the health of citizens. The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, who is nominated by the President, administers this department.
U.S. Department of Justice a.k.a. Justice Department Cabinet department responsible for enforcing the law, defending U.S. interests according to the law, and ensuring the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans. The United States Attorney General, who is nominated by the president, administers this department.
U.S. Department of Labor, a.k.a. Labor Department Cabinet department responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, and re-employment services. The U.S. Secretary of Labor, who is nominated by the President, administers this department.
U.S. Department of State, a.k.a. State Department The Cabinet-level foreign affairs agency of the U.S. government, equivalent to foreign ministries in other countries. The U.S. Secretary of State, who is nominated by the President, administers this department.
Urinalysis Laboratory analysis of urine, used to aid in the diagnosis of disease or to detect the presence of a specific substance.
V Victim A human target or the owner of stolen goods or damaged property (see Target).
Victim, repeat A person or place with multiple crimes or acts or disorder (see Duck).
Victim restitution See Restitution
Victim survey See Victimization Survey
Victimless crime An offense that is consensual between parties and considered to have no true victims, such as prostitution or certain drug-related crimes. Also known as “consensual crime”.
Victimization rates A measure of the prevalence of criminal victimization in a population, which is ordinarily expressed as "X victimizations per 1,000 members of the population."
Victimization, repeat The processes leading to repeat victims and committed by repeat offenders.
Victimization survey A survey of a population (usually individual citizens) designed to gather data on the prevalence, incidence, and circumstances of criminal victimization.
Victim-offender reconciliation Programs designed to bring offenders and victims together to achieve mutual understanding. A basic component of restorative justice.
Virtual repeats Victimization of targets that are very similar, though not identical (as in the case of repeat victims or places). Also called “near” repeats.
W Warning An admonition given by a police officer to a citizen who has violated a law or regulation. Warnings may be either verbal or written.
Warrant check A check of police records to determine if a warrant for arrest has been issued for a particular person.
Wolf (ravenous) problems Problems characterized by substantial involvement of repeat offenders (see Crime Triangle). Occurs when offenders are able to locate temporarily vulnerable targets and places.
Z Zero tolerance policy A policy that minimizes or eliminates discretion on the part of police or others when dealing with troublesome behavior in others.
Zoning Local level ordinances, by-laws, codes, or regulations that set parameters for acceptable land usage.
Zoning code See Zoning
Zoning law See Zoning