Because there is no single reason why facilities vary in risk, it is important to determine which reasons are in operation in each particular case. The most important sources of variation in risk follow.
Table 2: Reported Shopliftings by Store, Danvers, Mass. October 2003 to September 2004
|Store||Shopliftings||Percent of Shopliftings||Cumulative % of Shopliftings||Cumulative % of Stores||Shopliftings per 1000 Sq. Ft.|
|7 stores with 2 incidents||14||4.7||90.6||30.8||0.08|
|28 stores with 1 incident||28||9.4||100.0||66.7||0.06|
|26 stores with 0 incidents||0||0.0||100.0||100.0||0.00|
|Total stores = 78||298||100.0||100.0||100.0||0.15|
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to obtain the data needed to correct for the size of the facilities under study. For example, a study of downtown parking lot thefts in Charlotte, North Carolina was impeded when the city was unable to provide data about the number of spaces in each lot.16 As a result, police officers had to visit each lot and count the spaces by hand.
† See Clarke, Ronald (1999) [PDF] . Hot Products. Police Research Series. Paper 112. London: Home Office.
† See Mike Scott, The Problem of Robbery at Automated Teller Machines, Problem Specific Guide No. 8 (Washington, D.C.: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice, 2001).
A Sign Outside a Bar – How managers regulate patron conduct can have a big influence on crime risk. Credit: John Eck
In every large city, a few low-cost rental apartment buildings make extraordinary demands on police time. These “risky facilities” are often owned by slumlords — unscrupulous landlords who purchase properties in poor neighborhoods and who make a minimum investment in management and maintenance. Building services deteriorate, respectable tenants move out, and their place is taken by less respectable ones — drug dealers, pimps, and prostitutes — who can afford to pay the rent but who cannot pass the background checks made by more responsible managements. In the course of a problem-oriented policing project in Santa Barbara, California, Officers Kim Frylsie and Mike Apsland analyzed arrests made at 14 rental apartment buildings owned by a slumlord, before and after he had purchased them. The table clearly shows a large increase in the number of people arrested at the properties in the years after he acquired them. There was also some evidence that the increased crime and disorder in these properties spilled over to infect other nearby apartment buildings — a finding that supports the widespread belief that slumlords contribute to neighborhood blight.
|Property||Year Aquired||No. of Units||Average Pre-Owning||Yearly Arrests Post-Owning|
Source: Clarke, Ronald and Gisela Bichler-Robertson (1998). “Place Managers, Slumlords and Crime in Low Rent Apartment Buildings”. Security Journal, 11: 11-19.
Table 3: Responses to Risky Facilities
|Size||Facility is large and attracts many users, some of whom become victims.||If the number of crimes per user is very small compared to most other facilities, then one option is to do nothing. Alternatively, identify those most likely to become victims and the circumstances associated with their victimization, then focus on these individuals and circumstances.|
|Hot Products||Facility contains a large number of things that are particularly vulnerable to theft or vandalism.||Remove hot products. Provide additional protection to hot products.|
|Location||Facility may be located in close proximity to offenders.||Hire additional security. Tailor management practices to the peculiarities of the area.|
|Repeat Victims||Facility contains a few victims who are involved in a large proportion of crimes.||Provide victims with the information or inducements they need to make behavioral changes that will reduce their likelihood of victimization. Provide information or protection to victims so that they are not victimized again.|
|Crime Attractor||Facility attracts many offenders or a few high rate offenders.||Remove offenders through enforcement and incapacitation or rehabilitation. Deny access to repeat offenders.|
|Poor Design||Physical layout makes offending easy, rewarding or inducing risk.||Change the physical layout in conformity with principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED)†.|
|Poor Management||Management practices or processes enable or encourage offending.||Change management procedures, paying particular attention to practices that influence repeat victimization.|
† For additional information on CPTED principles see Response Guide #6.
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