Friday, July 27, 2012

60 Steps Revisited: Step 29 - Be Ready For Repeat Victimization

Back in 2009, I did a series of posts covering the excellent book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers. The book is published by the US DOJ's Problem Oriented Policing Center (POP Center). Because of the value I think this book has for crime analysts, and policing in general, I am going to re-post this series on here on the blog.

In this post in our continuing walk through the excellent book Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers we're going to look at Step 29 - Be Ready For Repeat Victimization. Have you ever heard the old saw "Lightning never strikes in the same place twice"? Well, at least where crime is concerned this is not true. Any cop can probably chime in with a certain business or a particular house that they always seem to be responding to over and over again.

The authors list two different kind of repeat victimizations:

  1. Boost accounts explain repetitions in terms of positive experiences at the initial offense. A burglar, for example, learns a great deal about a home during a break-in. This knowledge may encourage him to come back for another break-in. A burglar may also tell others about goods he left behind, leading to subsequent break-ins by other burglars.
  2. Flag accounts explain repetitions in terms of the unusual attractiveness or vulnerability of particular targets that result in their victimization by a variety of offenders. Some occupations have much higher victimization rates than others (taxi drivers, for example) and people who spend time in risky facilities (such as convenience store clerks) are also more prone to repeated victimization. Finally, the ownership of hot products, such as cars attractive to joyriders (Step 31), will also increase the probability of repeat victimization.
Related to repeat victims is the phenomenon of "near" repeat victims. This refers to victims that have similar geographic or other characteristics as the original victim. For instance, a neighboring apartment may be burglarized after the initial burglary. 

When repeat victimization occurs, we can use this to focus our efforts on these high risk victims. Way back when we looked at Step 8 - Use The Problem Analysis Triangle, we learned that some repeat victimizations lend themselves to effective strategies to reduce victimization. 

Next time, we'll look at a related chapter Step 30 - Consider Repeat Offending.

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