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NCJ Number: 78608 Find in a Library
Title: Crime Displacement Hypothesis - An Empirical Examination
Journal: Crime and Delinquency  Volume:27  Issue:3  Dated:(July 1981)  Pages:390-404
Author(s): T Gabor
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 15
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A residential burglary prevention program that involved the marking of household property in a Canadian township was evaluated to test the crime displacement hypothesis, according to which crime prevention efforts result in adjustments in criminal behavior but not reductions in total crime.
Abstract: Proponents of this hypothesis argue that programs involving deterrence or target-hardening components are futile since they fail to deal with primary criminogenic factors. Thus, adjustments to prevention measures can occur along three fundamental dimensions -- spatial, temporal, or qualitative -- and result in the stabilization of crime rates. The present study involved an Operation Identification program in Nepean Township which began in March 1975 and was monitored through August 1976. By the end of the study, 171 of the 1,093 occupied dwellings were enrolled in the program, while only 1 of the 625 operating businesses in the area was protected by the program. Three forms of displacement were examined: the possibility of a shift in criminal activity from the homes of participants to those of nonparticipants, a shift in crime from residences to businesses, and the theft of unmarked merchandise rather than marked merchandise. Results showed that changes in the patterns of burglary occurred in the direction consistent with the displacement hypothesis for all three types of displacement, although the indicators were statistically significant only for the form of displacement involving a shift in criminal activity from the homes of participants to those of nonparticipants. Findings indicated that displacement is a plausible reaction to prevention programs and should be a part of evaluative studies. The analysis of displacement should illuminate offender behavior patterns and motivation as well as the modes of intervention most appropriate for counteracting antisocial behavior. Tables and footnotes are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Crime displacement; Crime patterns; Crime specific countermeasures; Ontario; Property identification; Residential security
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