University of Twente Student Theses


Residential burglaries: a comparison between self-report studies of burglars and observational data from Enschede

Aantjes, Feike (2012) Residential burglaries: a comparison between self-report studies of burglars and observational data from Enschede.

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Abstract:Residential burglary is a serious crime. In Twente the amount of residential burglaries increased in the period of 2007 till 2011 every year by at least 8%. A burglary has a significant impact on the victims, not only financially but emotionally as well. Once a burglary is committed, a repeat of the crime is very likely. Some theories try to explain how burglars operate and why. These theories are the rational choice perspective, the routine activities approach, the opportunity theory, the crime pattern theory and crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). This study compares the results of self report studies of burglars with observational data from Enschede, a Dutch city with approximately 157.000 citizens. The self report studies are from Macintyre (2001). He interviewed 50 burglars to obtain a list of seventeen cues, which play a role in assessing whether a house is suitable to break in to or not. Some cues attract burglars, while others deter them. In Enschede 851 houses were observed in 2010, 430 of them were burglarized in 2008 and the other 421 were not burglarized the past 5 years. Every house was observed using a checklist, which was used for characteristics of the houses and the direct environment. Every cue of Macintyre is compared with the data from Enschede, to find out whether the cues correspond or not. The factors dog evidence and people in the street have in agreement with Macintyre a significant lower chance of getting burglarized. Houses with bad window frames or bad maintenance or a corner house are significantly more likely to get burglarized. Houses with high fences, an alarm system or extra locks are more likely to get burglarized, in contrast with what was expected. The other cues had no significant impact on the chance of getting burglarized. Further research can take alarm systems and extra locks into account and investigate whether these are effective measures, as well as dead-end streets and take the different types of dead-end streets into account. Finally a replica of Macintyre’s study in a Dutch setting with information about the modus operandi could generate more insight in the target selection and breaking and entering of burglars in The Netherlands.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
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