Initial and repeated burglary victimisation: victim vulnerability, same offender involvement and implications for theory and crime prevention

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] This thesis examines the phenomenon of repeat burglary and its significance for crime prevention, criminology and victimology. The research program for this thesis was inspired some time ago by the Kirkholt burglary prevention project in the United Kingdom. The reduction of repeat victimisation quickly came to be seen as the key to Kirkholt?s success and by the late twentieth century victim-based crime prevention projects had been implemented in many parts of the world. However, even though these projects have achieved notable success there is still intense debate about why one-time victims are more likely than others to become future victims. This thesis aims to increase understanding of repeat burglary and other forms of repeat victimisation by contributing to its key concepts and its methods of analysis, and by applying these insights in Australian settings. In pursuing this endeavour the thesis links the problems of repeat victimisation with problems in other areas of criminology and social science. In particular the issue of whether prior victimisation is a cause of future victimisation or merely a marker of pre-existing risk has analogs in the areas of offending, of employment, in international disputes, and in many others. Despite this, there has been limited transfer of methods and concepts between repeat victim researchers and researchers in other areas. The thesis examines repeat burglary as a substantive area of research, but its approaches to method, concepts and data are relevant to all repeat victimisation research. ... It draws together criminological theory, conceptual analysis, and a pioneering application of survival analysis to pursue the mechanisms underlying repeat burglary in a Perth suburb. In doing so it illuminates issues about the relative power of state dependence and heterogeneity explanations of repeat burglary and arrives at substantive results that in some aspects differ from findings in the United Kingdom. This section also argues that the concept of state dependence commonly adopted is iv unnecessarily constraining and that a broader concept can explain some potentially conflicting findings of repeat victimisation research. Section 3 is an evaluation of a victim-focused burglary prevention initiative in Adelaide one of two nationally supported pilot projects. Section 4 examines carefully the claimed advantages of victim-focused crime prevention for distributing burglary prevention resources in an efficient and equitable way. It examines evidence concerning the differential capacity and willingness of victims to take effective preventive action and the need for both individual and collective support for effective preventive initiatives. Section 5 concludes the thesis by arguing first that the merging of victim support and crime prevention is not as simple as is sometimes claimed. It also argues that crime prevention needs to take into account more than criminological theory if it is to be effective. An important argument of the conclusion is that criminological imagination has been overly limited in comprehending repeat victimisation, and it explores the ways in which criminological research still struggles to appreciate the importance of the victim for theory and crime prevention. It also argues that the implications of repeat victimisation have yet to be fully developed and accepted. Fuller details of the thesis structure are given at the end of the introduction.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2007


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