PROPERTY STOLEN DURING HOUSE BURGLARIES: ITS 'VALUE' IN TERMS OF UNDERSTANDING THE OFFENDER AND INFORMING POLICING STRATEGIES
Ewart, B.W., Oatley, G.C. and Wilbert, M.N., University of Sunderland, United Kingdom
Most Police organisations collect detailed information on property stolen during domestic house burglaries. However, there is little research on this topic despite its potential in respect of understanding the burglar's motivation, predicting future behaviour and informing proactive policing strategies. Ewart, Inglis and Wilbert (1997) and Clarke, Perkins and Smith, (2000)) explore property taken as a means of explaining an offender's motivation to revictimise a property. Although employing large samples, the former focuses upon a limited range of items while the latter identifies the need to compare what is taken at addresses which are not revictimised with what is stolen from revictimised properties. Merry and Harsent (2000) include property in their analyses of crime scene actions, but their sample of burglaries is small and a number of property items are collapsed into broad categories which may conceal important relationships. The work reported here seeks to address these issues. Binary logistic regression explores the ability of 45 different types of stolen property to discriminate non repeat (n=1368) from repeats burglaries (n=183) committed in a large Police operational command unit in England during 2000. Proxscal explores the relationships between frequent and seldom stolen items across non repeat burglaries and those which are the first in a series of repeats. The findings are discussed in terms of the 'flag' and 'boost' theories (Pease 1998) of an offender's rvictimisation behaviour and Merry's (2000) profiling approach to the 'Everyday Serial Crime' of burglary.