Designing systems against crime

Introducing leaky systems 1

Authored by: Aiden Sidebottom , Nick Tilley

Handbook of Crime Prevention and Community Safety

Print publication date:  July  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138851054
eBook ISBN: 9781315724393
Adobe ISBN:


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Crime is known to concentrate in various ways. A small number of offenders are typically responsible for the majority of crimes committed (Budd et al., 2005; Farrington and West, 1993; Wolfgang et al., 1972). Some victims are repeatedly victimised, thereby experiencing a disproportionate amount of crime (Pease, 1998; Farrell, 2016). So-called crime ‘hot spots’ denote particular places with comparatively high levels of crime (Sherman et al., 1989; Weisburd and Green, 1995). Products exhibit differential theft rates (Clarke, 1999). Crime is unevenly distributed over time (Felson and Poulsen, 2003). And, as Eck et al. (2007) demonstrate, when analysing the distribution of crime across a population of similar facilities such as bars, airports and hospitals, the bulk of offences concentrate on the risky few.

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