JST301 – Applying Criminology to Crime Reduction
The Routine Activities Theory and its application to burglary
Over recent decades, Australia has experienced an overall decline in the rate of crime however, property offences such as Burglary has experienced a rise in reported offences (Ratcliff ,2013, p 1). This paper will concentrate largely on the recent trends in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). ACT Policing has implemented various operations and crime prevention strategies to tackle this type of crime, however, they appear to be largely unsuccessful overtime (Ratcliffe, 2013, p 5).
Traditional policing methods have significantly relied on reporting of crime by public followed by response and often involve routine patrols after the crime has occurred. Many police and law enforcement agencies in Europe, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have increasingly adopted modern statistical based strategies in combating crime and in their communities. Such statistical based approach have proven to be more effective in their current fight against crime and at the same time assist Commanders and Managers to plan and prepare for future strategies (Schneider, 2009) Hotspots policing, high visibility policing, high risk offender management programs are all response based on the result of careful analysis of the crime statistics. The gathering of intelligence and statistical data have assisted Police agencies in identifying modus operandi of offenders, trends in criminal behavior and vulnerable areas of the community which can be strengthened through police community based awareness programs.
Defining and Analysis of the Problem
During the 1960’s there was an increase in overall crime rates throughout the Western World during which time there was a decrease in common factors thought to cause crime such as poor economic conditions. In 1970 Cohen and Felson (1980, p 389) questioned why there was an increase urban crime rates? Which, raised the argument that criminal activity and events should be seen as event, that occurs at a specific location and time involving specific people and objects. They argued that these crime events require three minimal elements to occur being, an offender who was prepared to commit the offence, a suitable target such as property to be stolen or a victim to be assaulted and the absence of a guardian capable of preventing the crime. Cohen and Felson argue that if any of these three elements were not present then it would be insufficient to prevent a criminal event from occurring.
Another contribution of this theory was the idea that criminal opportunities are not spread evenly throughout society and that there is some limit on the number of available targets viewed as attractive and or suitable by the offender. Cohen and Felson (1980, p 392) suggested that suitability is made up of at least four qualities of the target being, value, inertia, visibility and access. Cohen and...