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A Mixed Methods Approach to Understanding the Target Selection Criteria of Burglars within Leeds

Addis, Nicholas James (2017) A Mixed Methods Approach to Understanding the Target Selection Criteria of Burglars within Leeds. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Over the last decade, levels of domestic burglary in Leeds have been amongst the highest in the UK. This has led to substantial investment into reducing burglary in the city; for example, with the implementation of the Burglary Reduction Programme in 2011. Though burglary levels in Leeds have subsequently fallen, reducing property crime (particularly burglary) and enhancing community safety remain key priorities for the city. This is particularly pertinent in the existing climate of policing cuts and austerity measures, which have contributed to a clear focus towards more accurately targeted resources and an evidence-based approach. This project takes a localised approach to exploring the nature of burglary and burglars. The aims are to understand the nuances and patterns of target selection amongst burglars, which will help support targeted operational policing, and enable the provision of targeted crime prevention advice. To achieve these aims, a mixed-methods approach has been used; namely, the analysis of burglary offence data collected by the police, as well as interviews undertaken with a sample of incarcerated offenders who have current or previous convictions for burglary. The analysis of offence data helped to derive offence-based MOs; these centred around features such as opportunism, ‘sneak-in’ offences, the use of force, and the age of offenders. This revealed five offence-based MO groupings; “Sneak Offences”; “Smash and Grab”; “Local Youthful Opportunism”; “Confident Opportunism” and “Local Juvenile Poverty Predation.” Offender-based MOs were subsequently derived through the interviews undertaken; these resulted in the identification of ‘professional’, ‘opportunist’, and ‘sneak-in’ offender-based MOs. Offence and offender-based MOs are contrasted and compared in the discussion. The nature, value and extent to which offenders and offences were characterised by these groupings is subsequently discussed. This project also revealed a number of findings with clear utility in supporting crime prevention and operational policing efforts. These include the importance of cover in target selection, understanding the ‘mindset’ of a property’s residents, the nature of journeys to and from crime, the process of ‘offloading’ stolen goods, the ability of offenders to ‘blend in’ to their surroundings, serial targets, and the importance of police-linked alarms as a deterrent. The research concludes by highlighting potential avenues for future work in this field.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Burglary; target selection; crime prevention; mixed methods.
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Geography (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Law (Leeds)
Depositing User: Mr Nicholas James Addis
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2017 11:55
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 15:35
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18092

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