Week 9: Can we prevent victimisation?

Thinking about trends and patterns in victimisation, we will consider whether it is possible to predict and therefore prevent future victimisation. We will debate the inherent difficulties and limitations of victimisation prevention.

Crime prevention message at the Colosseum, Rome. Image: Pat Lockley CC BY 4.0
Crime prevention message at the Colosseum, Rome. Image: Pat Lockley CC BY 4.0

Crime is not random – it clusters in predictable ways. We can therefore use patterns of victimisation to reduce the risk of victimisation.

Don’t forget that a crime pattern is not the same as a crime trend. ‘A trend is a persistent, long-term rise or fall in temporally-based data’ (Moore & McCabe,1999).

We can use a variety of data sources to determine victimisation patterns, including

  • Police data/crime maps
  • Victim surveys
  • Anecdotal

Hot spots (spatial patterns)

  • Crimes are concentrated geographically in hot spots
  • Hot spots can shift over time
  • There may be ‘hot dots’ within the hot spots

Crime Pattern Theory

  • Crime is not random
  • Criminal opportunities are not random
  • Offenders and victims use time and space in a normal way

(Brantingham and Brantingham)

You can see crime maps for any area in England and Wales at www.police.uk

One of the most useful patterns of victimisation we know about is that of repeat victimisation. We know that once someone has been a victim of crime once, they are far more likely to be a victim of crime again. There are several sub types of repeat victimisation…

  • True repeat victims
  • Near victims
  • Virtual repeats
  • Chronic victims

Identifying causes

  • Identifying patterns in victimisation is the first step
  • It is important to understand the reasons behind the patterns
  • e.g. risky facility, victim behaviour, environmental factors
  • Some repeats happen because of boost/state dependence; others because of flags/state heterogeneity. The first of these is

The utility of patterns of crime

  • Understanding features and possible causes of victimisation
  • Reducing risk to victims
  • Directing resources to most vulnerable victims

It is often not as straightforward as giving someone advice about protecting themselves. Victimisation is far more complex than this. We have to be careful to avoid victim blame

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1uZvxusuR4ao0EcTt5OlZ1Wph3jNaKQpwfHKpmJPzfC0/pub?start=false&loop=false&delayms=3000″ size=”medium”]

You may also access the slides directly here

Relevant links:
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