Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Faculty Publications
 

Title

Environmental factors affecting auto burglary

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Environment and Behavior

Volume

33

Publication Date

2001

First Page

368

Last Page

388

Abstract

Although large numbers of crimes are committed in parks each year, little is known about the ways in which offenders use park settings to commit these crimes. Such knowledge would allow park managers to evaluate crime risk and opportunity and to formulate response strategies. A case study of auto burglary in Washington, D.C., examined the relationship between park setting and auto burglary. A focus group, extensive on-site interviews with plainclothes police, and analysis of crime sites were used to reveal the scripts and behaviors of auto burglars. The results are consistent with fundamental theories of environmental criminology and suggest that situational features are in fact used by offenders and that offenders adapt their behaviors to the opportunities and risks provided by each setting. In particular, a park’s physical features can reduce effort and risk by offering concealment, which is necessary for identifying targets and for sorting stolen valuables.

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