territorial functioning and victimisation in council estates in sheffield
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TERRITORIAL FUNCTIONING AND VICTIMISATION IN COUNCIL ESTATES IN SHEFFIELD. By: Aldrin Abdullah. Definition & concept. “ Territorial functioning ” refers to how people manage the space they own or occupy Elements of Territorial Functioning :. attitudes. behaviour. markers.

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Presentation Transcript
definition concept
Definition & concept
  • “Territorial functioning” refers to how people manage the space they own or occupy
  • Elements of Territorial Functioning:




importance of territorial functioning
Importance of territorial functioning
  • Location – spaces that surround the home (streets, front & back yards)
  • Reason – these spaces influence the quality of life in the home
link between territorial functioning and crime
Link between territorial functioning and crime
  • Notion – offenders perceive maintenance of outdoor residential spaces by the occupants as likely to be defended
  • Support:

Craik & Appleyard (1980)

Taylor et al., (1984)

victimisation perspective
Victimisation perspective
  • The “victimisation perspective” focuses on the characteristics and lifestyle of the victims and to see how that affect their risk of becoming a victim.
objectives of the study
Objectives of the study
  • 1) Establish the demographic variables that are related to victimisation of household crimes
  • 2) Examine the relationship between territorial functioning and victimisation of household crimes
  • Main site selection criteria:
  • Council Estates in Sheffield - Similar demographic characteristics (Census SAS)
  • Varying crime rates (Police Offence and Offender Data)
views of estate high se
Views of Estate High (SE)
  • Graffiti & vandalism are a common sight in the area
  • Procedure:

Conducted in 2 stages

Stage 1 (Survey of 217 respondents)

Stage 2 (Structured interviews – 12 respondents)


Stage 1 (Survey of 217 respondents)

  • Part 1 (demographic information, territorial attitudes, fear and crime problems, victimisation experience)
  • Part 2 (observation of residents’ front garden – evaluate territorial markers)


  • Victimisation:

Household & personal crimes (Based on 1996 BCS)

  • Territorial functioning:

11 Attitude statements

Observation of marking behaviour

examples of markers
Examples of markers

Flower pot Number plate

examples of gardening effort
Examples of gardening effort

High effort No effort

  • Stage 2 (Structured interviews – 12 respondents)
  • Purpose – Understand issues from the first stage
  • Emphasis on description and discovery and not on generalisation
results crime in the estates
Results – Crime in the estates

Victimisation Survey Data

results demographic characteristics by household victimisation
Results - Demographic characteristics by household victimisation

Significant relationships (p<.05)

(Spearman’s rho & Mann-Whitney)


Length of residence

results demographic characteristics by household victimisation20
Results - Demographic characteristics by household victimisation

Non Significant relationships (p>.05) (Spearman’s rho & Mann-Whitney)

Gender Ethnic origin

Marital status Household income Social class Type of residence

Occupation Type of ownership

results victimisation and territorial functioning
Results – Victimisation and territorial functioning
  • An increase in household victimisation is associated with a decrease in levels of territorial functioning at the individual and neighbourhood level.
  • The analysis cannot infer the causal relationship between the two variables
two possible explanations
Two possible explanations

First explanation

Increase in level of threat results in the reduction of territorial claims in accordance with the RETREAT approach (Taylor & Brower, 1985).

High victimisationLow territorial functioning

Alternative explanation

Respondents were highly victimised because they expressed low levels of territorial functioning in the first place.

High victimisationLow territorial functioning

Burglars are hypothesised to prefer houses with less markers as targets.

results interviews
Results - Interviews
  • Purpose – examine which of the two explanations apply.
  • Subjects – 3 highly victimised respondents (7 or more incidents within the 1 year period).
  • Respondents A, B & C
results interview
Results - Interview

Summary of findings

  • Both respondents A & B displayed more territorial features before the incident.
  • Displays were in the form of more personalised items, barriers, flower pots.
  • Gradual decline in territorial functioning as a result of repeated victimisation.
In contrast,
  • Respondent C had never attempted to display any territorial feature.
  • Why was Respondent C not bothered?
  • Did not believe that territorial display had any function in protecting the property.
  • Felt that these efforts require a lot of time and money – wasteful effort
  • Age and length of residence are related to household victimisation.
  • This reflects the individual guardianship by older and long term occupier.
  • Low territorial functioning is related to higher victimisation experience.
  • However, the relationship can work in both ways.

High victimisation Low territorial


  • The victimisation perspective is important in studying crime.
  • Crime is not merely an activity of the offender.
  • The characteristics of the victims also influence crime.
  • Focus on “multiple victimisation” because a high proportion of crimes are against the same people.
  • Territorial functioning - an environmental approach to crime prevention