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This
essay aims to critically examine the evidence pertaining to what might work to
prevent domestic burglary. The focus will be upon the four strands of crime
reduction postulated by Tilley (2009), namely, the criminal justice approach,
the individual approach, the social approach, and the situational
approach.  These approaches collectively
encompass the remit of law enforcement within Criminal Justice System (CJS),
coupled with more proactive, preventative methods linked to offender
characteristics, social cohesion, and the impact of the environment upon
domestic burglary. Each approach will be outlined and exemplified using
contemporary research, then evaluated for effectiveness as a crime reduction
strategy.

To
be convicted of domestic burglary, an individual is culpable “if he enters any
building or part of a building as a trespasser” and then “steals or attempts to
steal anything in the building or that part of it or inflicts or attempts to inflict
on any person there in grievous bodily harm” (Theft Act 1969). Victims of
domestic burglary lose possessions, but the emotional and psychological impacts
are significant in both the short and longer term. Scott Cook from Victim
Support in Northamptonshire makes the point, “Victims tell us time and time
again that they suffer far more than loss of possessions; there can be a
lasting effect on the whole family”
(Victimsupport.org.uk, 2016). Burglary prevention is a critical area of
study to ensure coordinated, sustained action and value for money. This premise
is emphasised in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which
endeavours to protect an individual’s rights and freedoms. Article 8 states
“Everyone has the right to respect for his family life, his home and his
correspondence” (Echr.coe.int, 2017). The
Home office document Modern Crime Prevention Pamphlet 2016 (Modern Crime
Prevention Strategy 2016) outlines six key drivers of crime: opportunity,
character, effectiveness of the CJS, drugs and alcohol. These drivers will be
incorporated into analysis of the main crimes reduction approaches.  

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Key
players in Tilley’s (2009) criminal justice approach include the police,
courts, prison and probation service. The premise is that “any CJS action which
increases the costs or reduces the benefits should act as a deterrent” (Modern
Crime Prevention Strategy 2016). This reflects directly Cornish and Clarke’s 1987 rational choice theory. Direct
mechanisms within the CJS aim to reduce domestic burglary. Incapacitation
removes offenders from society, but the fixed nature of many sentences creates
potential to reoffend.  Awareness of
sentencing implications could deter a potential burglar. Tilley 2009 states
that specific deterrence means “offenders are deterred due to the
unpleasantness of punishment”. Currently, sentencing for domestic burglary
ranges from a community order to six years imprisonment.  Sentencing can increase to “up to 13 years if
armed” (BBC News, 2012). The Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that
domestic burglary increased rapidly through 1980-1990’s, reaching a peak of
2,445,000 in 1993 and then decreased to date, with 650000 recorded in March
2017 (Ons.gov.uk, 2017). Tightening of sentencing is likely to be a significant
factor in reducing burglary. However, reoffending rates show that in 2010-2011,
49 % of sentenced burglars went on to commit a further crime and 53% of
reoffenders had already committed twenty-five or more previous crimes
(Whitehead, 2012). The deterrent effect of sentencing may have an impact, but
clearly, the factors influencing the fall in domestic burglary are
multifaceted, with deterrence being just one contributing factor.

The
CJS can also serve to disrupt crime. “Crime and disorder is not evenly spread
across areas and policing should be concentrated in the areas of greatest
demand.” (The Effects of Hotspot Policing on Crime: What Works Briefing, 2013).
Problem Orientated Policing (POP) using evidence to deploy resources spatially,
can target crime ‘hotspots’. For example, Koper’s 1995 (Koper, 1995) study in
Minneapolis, showed that “The ideal dosage for police presence was 10-15
minutes.” Resumption of criminal activity was only 4 % in the following thirty
minutes. Subsequently, the deterrent effect declined, the so called ‘Koper’s
Curve’. Are the gains purely short term? Fielding and Jones mapped the
incidence of domestic burglary in Trafford, Greater Manchester in 2010-11.  A ‘Capable Guardian’ was stationed at key
times in identified areas to deter the ‘optimal forager’. “Trafford Basic Command Unit showed a 26.6
percent (n=327 domestic burglaries) reduction compared with the previous 12
months prior to implementation” (Fielding and Jones, 2012). This project exemplifies the SARA
model of policing: Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment (Eck and
Spelman 1987 as referenced in Weisburd et al,.2008).  Proactive policing techniques, such as the
Nottinghamshire Police initiative of posting a messaged crime prevention
balloon though open doors and windows, demonstrates a local application of this
model (Ashe, 2017). Arguments about potential displacement to another location
seem unfounded as Wiles and Costello’s Sheffield research (Wiles and Costello, 2000)
demonstrates. Average burglary travel distance in 1995 was less than two miles
(table 3.1 page 11) and “the strongest correlation found was between offence
location and the current residence of the offender.” Evidence presented
suggests that informed hotspot policing can impact positively on the incidence
of domestic burglary.

The
individual approach is the second approach named by Tilley (2009). Here, the
fundamental causes of criminal behaviour are addressed by considering the
individual’s history and background. Farrington (1996) stated that experiences
such as child abuse, parental conflict and low family income can all contribute
to the likelihood of that individual offending. Wilson (1983) expressed the
view that an individual’s aggressiveness and delinquency can result from the
particular characteristics a person’s upbringing, for example,  “being raised in a family that is discordant”
or “lacking in affection” (Wilson 1983b, p48 as referenced with Farrington and
Welsh 2007). This is exemplified within further of Farrington’s work where it
states, “low intelligence, an impulsive personality, and a lack of empathy for
other people are among the leading individual characteristics of people at risk
for becoming offenders” (Farrington and Welsh, 2007). In terms of schooling,
truancy, disorganisation, and low achievement are also characteristics of a
potential offender. There are many players and people of interest within thus
approach, these include family, peers and health and social services.  

Cognitive
Behavioural therapy (CBT) can address crime reduction associated with burglary,
following the individual approach. The aim is to make the individual aware of
their own thoughts, resulting in positive adaptations. Cognitive Behavioural
therapy has many benefits to the offender, as it intends to “improve their
social skills, means ends problem solving” and “impulse management and self-efficacy”
(Clarke, 2010). Mark Lipsey conducted a study to test the
effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy with young offenders. 548
studies between 1958 and 2002 were analysed and evaluated. Seven different
categories were established, ranging from deterrence and discipline to
counselling and restorative programmes. From the research it became clear that
therapeutic approaches, for example counselling, were much more effective than
punishment in reducing criminal behaviour. However, effectiveness of CBD can be
debated, as some studies showed it to be effective, but others have not been so
successful, showing little or no difference. In some studies, there have been “troublesome gaps in the evidence” (Lipsey,
Chapman and Landenberger, 2001). CBT has the potential to be effective in
preventing burglary, however more sustained and rigorous research is needed to
ensure robust outcomes. In addition, there remains a question mark over the
whether the treatment should be obligatory and where the priority for treatment
lies, with offenders or non-offenders. It becomes both an ethical and economic
issue.

Drugs
and alcohol are directly linked to domestic burglary, as not only are some
crimes committed while under the influence, criminal activity can also fund habits
and addictions. Communities that Care (CtC) is a five-stage process that aims
to “prevent problems before they develop” (Communitiesthatcare.net, n.d).  It strives for early intervention to prevent
crimes occurring by targeting youths living in deprived communities and families
that are “deemed to put them at risk of developing social problems” (Crow et
al., 2004). But is this programme effective? Communities under the CTC
programme within The Community Youth Development Study highlighted that youths
were “25% to 33% less likely to have health and behaviour problems” (Communitiesthatcare.net,
n.d). With young people being the adults of the future, it is vital that they
are supported with any issues. CtC can aid in preventing domestic burglary as
it can prevent the criminality at the root before offending becomes entrenched.
Interventions to tackle drug and alcohol abuse, as well as a feeling of
inclusion within the community, reduces the draw of crime for young people.

Thirdly,
in the social approach, Tilley (2009) states that “patterns of criminality vary
by the communities and networks that offenders inhabit”. Thus, the interactions
people have, people they are associated with and where they live with can
affect their potential to offend. Players within the social approach include;
voluntary organisations and the local authority, who come together to find
solutions to reduce crime. Social approach theorists have used signals such as
social disorganisation and lack of social control to help explain crime and
highlight what needs to be done to reduce crime. Wilson (1987) stressed that
there is a correlation between areas where crime rates are higher and
unemployment, disadvantaged groups, especially minority groups.  This relates to burglary as when someone is
burgled possessions are taken are then usually sold on for money. Subsequently,
this makes money the reward, and the drive for offenders.

Neighbourhood
Watch in the United Kingdom was established in 1982 and in 2007 became a
national scheme. Their mission is to “bring neighbours together to create
strong, friendly, active communities” (Ourwatch.org.uk). Statistics show that
today over a quarter of the population within the United Kingdom are within
areas protected by watch schemes (Bennett, Holloway, and Farrington, 2006).  The existence of a neighbourhood watch scheme
is beneficial. It has influenced burglary reduction “because of a range of
factors have made it harder for burglars to gain entry to properties and remain
undetected” (Neighbourhood & Home
Watch Network: 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, n.d.). The Neighbourhood Watch Strategic Plan highlighted
the positive impact the programme has had in directly reducing burglary, as
since 2010 it has produced a “threefold reduction in domestic burglary” as well
as stating that “neighbourhood watch can reduce crime by 26%” (Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network:
2015-2020 Strategic Plan, n.d.).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

The
final approach Tilley (2009) outlined is the situational approach. The thrust
here is that the environment can be managed and manipulated to reduce
burglary.  Felson and Clarke 1998 argued
that “opportunity makes the thief” (Felson
and Clarke, 1998).
Thus, a burglary would be more likely where conditions are less risky and
difficult.  The structural approach
supports earlier threads of this essay where crime reduction is more about
preventing occurrence than punitive measures. Therefore, the removal of the
opportunity in the environment should be effective in reducing crime.  Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design
(CPTED) was founded in the 1970s by C Ray Jeffery, to address the rise in crime
and fear in the urban environment. Brantingham and Faust (1976) stated that
CPTED intends to distinguish the characteristics of the physical environment
that attracts and enables criminality to occur. Armitage (2013) established
five core principles of CPTED, these include physical security, surveillance,
movement control, defensible space, management, and maintenance. Producing a
defensible space, such as clear barriers to highlight that the property is
private, alongside restricting movement in and around properties can decrease
the likelihood of the property being chosen, and decrease the amount of escape
routes.

An
example of a situational crime prevention initiative is the Kirkholt Burglary-
Reduction Project, which was in action between 1987 and 1990 in Rochdale. Here,
homes “had experienced nearly twice the rate of domestic burglaries as the rest
of the country” (Seymour,2001). Significantly, “49% of burglaries in Kirkholt
involved theft of meter cash” (Forrester, Chatterton and Pease, 1988) from fuel
meters. Therefore, these were removed.  In
observing how effective this project was, statistics show that “burglary in the
area fell from 316 in 1986 to 147 in 1987”, and it was therefore concluded that
the project “resulted in a substantial reduction in burglaries over the three
years of the project” (Forrester, Chatterton and Pease, 1988).

A
second situational crime prevention strategy is Secured by Design (SBD).  SBD is the “official flagship initiative
combining the principles of ‘designing out crime’ with physical security”
(Secured by design.uk). SBD works holistically with many different stake
holders, such as architects and builders to adapt and manipulate the urban
environment to reduce crime. Nottingham City Homes (NCH) and Nottingham Trent
University (NTU) worked together in a partnership in 2008-2009. They installed
1,717 new windows into 1,520 homes to reduce the likelihood of the homes on two
chosen estates being burgled. Was this partnership effective? Evidence shows
that “Burglary was reduced by 42% across Bells
Lane and Broxtowe, compared to a city-wide reduction of 21% over the same
period” (Secured by design.uk). Other ways to prevent domestic burglaries as
stated by SBD are ensuring that you have double locks and checking the legal
minimum requirement for insurance, for both wooden and PVC doors, as well as
“door hinges are sturdy and secured with strong, long screws” (Securedbydesign.uk).
Households themselves can modify their home environment with security lighting,
timer switches for lights and burglar alarms. There have been arguments that
burglar alarms increase the risk of targeting by burglars as it could indicate
valuable contents inside.  Situational
approaches would appear particularly effective in reducing domestic burglary.

In conclusion, this essay had sought to explore what works to
reduce the crime of domestic burglary. Tilley’s (2009) four approaches to crime
reduction have been evaluated for their effectiveness in crime reduction, using
examples and supporting evidence. The criminal justice approach is important as
the consequences of committing burglary via sentencing need to be transparent
both for an offender and to promote confidence for a victim and indeed, the
general population. This approach is about law enforcement and reacting and
responding to a crime. Whilst this is a vital component in crime reduction,
Tilley’s other approaches are more about crime prevention, addressing the root
causes of crime. This could be within an individual’s circumstances, the
community in which they live and the environmental characteristics of a place. A
balance is important between controlling and preventing crime. Case studies in
this essay have demonstrated that crime control can be a proactive and
effective way of reducing domestic burglary. Domestic burglary
statistics have shown a fall nationally. It is difficult to assign casualty for
this to any one approach. Crime is a complex issue and a holistic approach to
crime reduction is necessary.  Whilst the
situational approach would appear particularly successful in tackling domestic
burglary, all four approaches collectively are essential, using a multi-agency
approach to combine expertise, sharing of information and effective deployment
of resources. The use of digital resources is becoming increasingly important
as a crime fighting technique. The Police and CJS are too often responding to
the effects and aftermath of crime and with limited resourcing in the recent
period of cuts and austerity, this can override more preventative techniques.  This essay has argued that a combined approach
focusing on specifics, such as ‘hotspots’ for domestic burglary and the
associated characteristics of the area can be very effective in reducing crime
and that crime control is a particularly desirable outcome.