Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Crime Prevention Studies, Volume 12

Repeat Victimization, Volume 12

Edited by Graham Farrell and Ken Pease

Buy this volume from Lynne Rienner Publishers


Title and copyright pages
Editors' Introduction: Why Repeat Victimization Matters
by Graham Farrell and Ken Pease
International Overview: A Cross-National Comparison of Rates of Repeat Victimization
by Graham Farrell and Adam C. Bouloukos

Research on repeat victimization to date has been at the local or national level, leaving skeptics room to argue that it is an isolated phenomenon. In this chapter, the rate of repeat victimization - the proportion of crimes that were repeated against the same persons or household is compared across country and crime type for the 1989, 1992 and 1996 sweeps of the International Crime Victims Survey (ICVS). Repeat victimization is found to be widespread in the industrialized countries surveyed. Some of the similarities and variations between countries are explored. Possibilities for further cross-national research are suggested. It is recommended that the United Nations develop guidelines and training to promote international good practice in the prevention of repeat victimization.

Attitudes of Victims and Repeat Victims toward the Police: Results of the International Crime Victims Survey
by Jan J.M. van Dijk

Repeat victims in the West report crimes more often than other victims in order to see the offender arrested and/or to stop what is happening. Repeat victims know or assume that the same offender(s) are victimising them again and again. Repeat victims contact the police with more demanding aims than other victims. The reporting patterns of repeat victims in the West resemble those of all victims in poorer countries. Like the victims in these countries, Western repeat victims are less inclined to report at all. This finding suggests that they are less certain that the police can satisfy their needs. Repeat victims in the West do not refrain from reporting because they consider their victimisation not serious enough. They are more likely than one-time victims to refrain because they feel the police could not or would not do anything to help them. In this respect, too, they resemble victims from poorer countries. Repeat victims are less often satisfied with the police response in all regions. The differences are most pronounced among victims from industrialized countries. The reduced level of satisfaction of repeat victims with overall police performance is rooted in negative personal experiences with the police.

Repeat Burglary Victimization: Results of Empirical Research in the Netherlands
by Edward R. Kleemans

This paper explores some theoretical notions about repeat burglary victimization, and reports findings from research into repeat victimization of residential burglary in the city of Enschede, the Netherlands, using police records over a period of six years. The study shows that there is a highly skewed distribution of burglary victimization in the population that is not due to chance. Furthermore, the study corroborates the findings of former research that there is a much greater chance of a repeat burglary in the period immediately after a burglary and that the magnitude o f this risk declines with time. It is argued that the most plausible explanation for these results is that the same offender or their acquaintances - return to the premises to commit another burglary. Using data on apprehended offenders, this hypothesis is partly tested. The study shows that repeat victimization is more likely in high-crime than in low-crime areas. It is demonstrated that the most convincing explanation for these results is that offenders are not only more likely to commit a burglary in residences near to the places they live, but that the same applies to the chance of committing a repeat burglary. Implications of the findings for crime prevention and detection are discussed.

The Impact of Repeat Victimisation on Burglary Victims in East and West Europe
by R.I. Mawby

This study reports and analyses rates and correlates of repeat victimisation in selected European cities. Rates of repeat were lower outside the English cities surveyed. However, the extreme level of repeat victimisation among dacha victims in Miskolc, Hungary, proved startling, indicating the vulnerability of such property to burglary. There are marked differences between levels of repeat victimisation in different cities and countries. In both East and West Europe, repeat victims are more likely than first-timers to leave the home unoccupied in the daytime for at least six hours. There was no convincing evidence that repeats were more likely to be affected by the burglary at the time it occurred. In essence, it seems likely that the "shock of the new" more than compensates for the "last straw." In this context, it is perhaps surprising

that first-timers were more likely to feel they had no need for victim assistance. A different pattern emerges, however, when the longer-term implications of repeat victimisation are considered. "Repeats" were less positive about their neighbours and neighbourhood and more inclined to express a desire to move, and were more likely to register fear, related to both the risk of a future burglary and street offences. This suggests that both crime prevention and community safety initiatives are correctly targeted at repeat victims.

Repeat Burglary in a Perth Suburb: Indicator of Short-term or Long-Term Risk?
by Frank Morgan

Two broad heuristic strategies have been employed to explain the success of prior burglary experience in predicting future burglaries. Event dependence explanations (Tseloni and Pease, 1997) assign a causal role to prior burglaries in influencing subsequent burglaries, whereas risk heterogeneity explanations interpret prior burglaries as mere "markers" of preexisting and more fundamental risk factors. This study of burglary in a small suburb of Perth, Western Australia, highlights the importance of long-term burglary risk factors operating on a small geographic scale, as well as the short-term influence of prior burglary events. Different mechanisms are required to explain repeat burglary in distinct but adjacent parts of the suburb. The study employs the Life Table method of survival analysis to examine the time course of repeat burglary and argues that survival methods provide a natural and well-developed statistical basis for the investigation of repeat victimisation.

Explaining Repeat Residential Burglaries: An Analysis of Property Stolen
by Ronald V. Clarke, Elizabeth Perkins, and Donald J. Smith Jr.

Records of property stolen during repeat residential burglaries in Dallas, Texas and San Diego, California were examined for evidence that burglars sometimes return: (1) to steal items left behind on the first occasion, and (2) to steal replacements for items stolen on the first occasion. In testing these propositions, the repeats were divided into two groups: those occurring within 30 days of the first burglary ("early" repeats) and those occurring after 30 days ("delayed" repeats). Evidence was found only for the second proposition - that burglars sometimes return to steal replacement items. For delayed repeats in both cities, the same items of property were taken more often than expected on both first and second occasions. Even so, returning for replacement property explains at best only a small proportion of repeat burglaries. A more complete explanation might result from studies comparing burglaries that are repeated with those that are not.

Personal Fraud: The Victims and the Scams
by Richard M. Titus and Angela R. Dover

The evidence from fraud victimization surveys is unanimous that repeat victimization is common. Greater education is not a protective factor against victimization; the evidence points to the reverse. Much evidence also suggests that older people are not at greater risk of fraud victimization. It may be that younger and better-educated people have wider interests, engage in a broader range of activities, and have more consumer participation in the marketplace than other demographic groups, thereby increasing their exposure to fraudulent solicitations and transactions. Risk heterogeneity and state dependence both appear to contribute to repeat victimization. The present study finds that fraud attempts are less likely to succeed if: (1) the offender is a stranger; (2) the initial contact is by telephone or mail; (3) the potential victim has heard of this type of fraud before; or (4) the potential victim tries to investigate the person or proposition before responding. Targeted campaigns aimed at fraud victims should be mounted. Enhanced and routine data collection on a national level is necessary, together with anticipation of new methods of fraudsters.

Repeated Bank Robbery: Theme and Variations
by Roger Matthews, Catherine Pease, and Ken Pease

This study examines all bank robberies, completed and attempted, reported to the U.K.'s Metropolitan Police in the years 1992-1994. It shows the rate if repetition against the same branches to be high, with each robbed branch suffering an average of 1.54 robberies, and the most robbed branch suffering six. Repeat robberies follow the success of earlier robberies, with the probability of repetition being roughly predictable from average sum taken (with attempts counting zero) at prior robberies of the same branch. Repeat robberies are less successful than first robberies, presumably because of security enhancements or staff training following the earlier event(s). Repeat robberies tend to happen soon after first robberies, and indirect evidence suggests - consistent with more direct evidence from other studies - that repeat robberies are substantially the work of the original robbers. A surprising and potentially important conclusion of the study is that banks differ greatly in their liability to repeat victimisation. Steps should be taken to supplement t he data available, so as to confirm this. However, it is suggested that a meeting of senior bank security staff called by the Home Office Crime- Prevention Agency to discuss the data would not be premature.

Time Heals All Wounds?
by Mandy Shaw

Time heals all wounds, it is said. The effects of chronic victimization have not yet been considered fully in the literature on repeat victimisation. This chapter presents evidence to suggest that the emotional scars of chronic victimisation can be so deep that everyday life loses meaning. It loses meaning because life itself - the freedom and ability to live as one wishes, the ability to function normally - is itself lost. The emotional processes are so traumatic that they resemble bereavement.

Crime Against the Same Person and Place: Detection Opportunity and Offender Targeting
by Steve Everson and Ken Pease

This chapter reports an attempt to use cleared crime data to show that prolific offender s do repeat crimes against the same target. It was found that crime by the same person accounts for the bulk of detected crime against the same victim. This is dramatically true when the unit of analysis is the street. Offenders known to commit crimes against the same target are found to be more prolific. The tentative nature of these results is stressed. Their implications for prevention, should they be confirmed, are substantial.

Repeat Victimization and Hot Spots: The Overlap and Its Implications for Crime Control and Problem-Oriented Policing
by Graham Farrell and William Sousa

Repeat victimization and crime hot spots have both been growth areas in the study and practice of policing and crime control in recent years. Since their convergence seems both inevitable and desirable, this chapter studies the relationship with two key aims. The first is to describe and explore the relationship. The second is to try to move toward suggestions of whether and how they might most fruitfully be integrated to result in the most effective crime control and policing strategies. This chapter examines the overlap between repeat victimization and hot spots in relation to high-crime areas and repeat offending for different crime types The paper concludes by suggesting that crime control and problem-oriented policing should benefit from a synergy if the approaches are integrated. Several benefits for policing and crime control are identified.

Victim Careers and "Career Victims"?: Toward a Research Agenda
by Graham Farrell, Andromachi Tselon, Brian Wiersema, and Ken Pease

Whereas there is a mature body of work examining criminal careers that has been established over the course of several decades, the study of victim career; is in its infancy. While there has been recent growth in the study of repeat victimization, the natural extension of this work into studies of the lire course remains to be undertaken. The present paper suggests why the study of victimization over the life course may prove important for criminological theory and practice, and explores ways in which it might be taken forward. A rich vein of criminological enquiry remains to be exploited that promises to inform theories of criminal victimization as Dell as crime prevention practice. The paper also proposes the utilization of an accelerated longitudinal design to enhance the study of victim careers. Such designs are rich in promise but typically extremely expensive to conduct. In theory, a study of victim careers using such a design may be possible from extant data sources, which would make it cost-effective. However, even if the design proposed herein did not reach its full potential, theory and practice may be greatly informed through the pursuit of a research agenda that incorporates longitudinal studies of victim careers.