Studying Crime and Disorder Problems
Written by Crime Content Coordinator   

Take a look at the underlying factors that are possibly related to the crime problem.  One way to do this is to analyze parts of the problem.  The first steps include involving some knowledgeable people, including the police, and gathering some information.  Using the information, the people might brainstorm and create projects around the following concepts:

  • Crime generators are places to which large numbers of people are attracted for reasons unrelated to criminal motivation. Providing large numbers of opportunities for offenders and targets to come together in time and place produces crime or disorder. Examples of generators include shopping areas, transportation hubs, festivals, and sporting events. The large number of crime or disorder events is due principally to the large number of targets at the site.

  • Crime attractors are places affording many criminal opportunities that are well known to offenders. People with criminal motivation are drawn to such locales. In the short run, offenders may come from outside the area, but over longer time periods, and under some circumstances, offenders may relocate to these areas. Prostitution and drug areas are examples. Some entertainment spots are also well known for allowing deviant activity. Such places might start off being known only to locals, but as their reputation spreads, increasing numbers of offenders are drawn in, thus increasing the number of crime and disorder events.

  • Crime enablers occur when there is little regulation of behavior at places: rules of conduct are absent or are not enforced. The removal of a parking lot attendant, for example, allows people to loiter in the parking area. This results in an increase in thefts from vehicles. This is an example of an abrupt change in place management. Sometimes place management erodes slowly over time, leading to problem growth. Crime enablers also occur with the erosion of guardianship and handling. For example, if parents attend a play area with their children they simultaneously protect the children (guardianship) and keep their children from misbehaving (handling). If parenting styles slowly change so that the children are increasingly left to themselves, their risk of victimization and of becoming offenders can increase.

. . . when a crime or disorder place in your neighborhood becomes a greater problem, it is generally because the number of targets has increased, the number of offenders taking advantage of the opportunity has increased, or because the level of control being exercised at the site has declined. Often, all three are at work. Add a discussion of these ideas to your agenda.

More information on these concepts and how they can be used can be found here.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 08 November 2009 )
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