For over a decade, research has shown that once a burglary occurs on a street, the homes on that street and on nearby streets are at a much higher risk of being burglarized over the next one to two weeks. This phenomenon, referred to as “near repeat” burglary patterns, can be quantified and usually involves an increased level of risk at nearby locations for a relatively short distance and a limited time period. This project aimed to use the knowledge surrounding near repeat burglary to develop a crime prevention strategy for police departments.
Broadly speaking, our research sought to determine if knowledge about near repeat patterns of burglary can actually be used for crime prevention purposes. Within this framework, we attempted to determine if raising awareness about crime issues and crime prevention techniques with the residents near burglary locations can reduce further burglary in the area. The targeted department strategy we used was a one-page information-rich document that would indicate that an incident has occurred and crime prevention efforts that can be undertaken by residents. We also included links to further online information. A key feature of this experiment is the ability to get this information to all households within the defined area within 24 hours of a particular burglary incident (using community policing or patrol officers, auxiliary officers, or formal department volunteers.)
The study identified the near repeat pattern in two police departments (Redlands, CA, and Baltimore County, MD). An automated system was developed to identify originator events, generate the near repeat high risk area (as a polygon), randomly allocate the event to treatment or control, notify the project coordinator of the homes to be visited with crime prevention information, and report the street hundred blocks at highest risk of near repeat burglaries. The project was designed to test whether quickly notifying community residents that they are at an increased risk for a burglary and providing them with burglary prevention tips could interrupt the phenomena of near repeat burglaries.
We evaluated whether homes within the treatment area were victimized less than those in the control areas. A random sample of residents was surveyed to discover whether they received information and what actions they took in response. We also surveyed volunteers who delivered the information to the homes to gain their insights into the process.
The study has been completed. Additional work on further advancing the automated processing tool for police agencies has also been completed. Please see the Publications and Tools section below for reports detailing the study results and accompanying software tools.
Implications for this project cover a range of theoretical, policing, and crime prevention topics. Since the crime prevention strategy is based on criminological theory, the results will help sharpen those theories. From the view of practice, we will know if this combination of treatments and associated strengths can disrupt the pattern of near repeats. By surveying residents to determine their specific responses to the community notification we can learn more about how and why people did or did not react to their knowledge of elevated risk.
Briefs & Summaries
Tackling Near Repeat Crime
Resources & Tools
Near Repeat Calculator (v. 1.3, developed by Dr. Jerry Ratcliffe, Temple University)
A localized near repeat calculator designed to estimate the spatial and temporal parameters of near repeat patterns.
Near Repeat Area Identifier Tool (v. 2.3, developed by Dr. Groff, Temple University and Dr. Taniguchi, RTI)
A tool built to assist with the identification of areas at risk of burglary as well as areas for treatment deployment.
Near Repeat Crime Prevention Potential Calculator (v. 1.0, developed by Dr. Groff, Temple University and Dr. Taniguchi, RTI)
A calculator designed to quantify the probable impact of implementing a near repeat burglary prevention program. The Near Repeat Area Identifier Tool (NRAIT) and Near Repeat Crime Prevention Potential Calculator (CPPC) are both free software. You can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License (version 3) as published by the Free Software Foundation.
In using this software, please note that there is NO warranty or implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. See the GNU General Public License for more details.
If you have any trouble downloading or accessing the software files, please contact Maria Valdovinos. If you have questions about the software applications themselves and how to use them, please contact Dr. Liz Groff.
This project was supported by Award No. 2012-IJ-CX-0039, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.
Our agency partners were the Baltimore County (MD) Police Department and City of Redlands (CA) Police Department. We extend our sincere thanks to our practitioner partners for their support and partnership.
Karen L. Amendola, PhD
Elizabeth Groff, PhD, Temple University
Travis Taniguchi, PhD, Research Triangle Institute (RTI)
Residential burglary, near repeat phenomenon, geospatial applications, near repeat calculator