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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Definition concept l.jpg
Definition & concept IN SHEFFIELD

  • “Territorial functioning” refers to how people manage the space they own or occupy

  • Elements of Territorial Functioning:




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Importance of territorial functioning IN SHEFFIELD

  • Location – spaces that surround the home (streets, front & back yards)

  • Reason – these spaces influence the quality of life in the home

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Link between territorial functioning and crime IN SHEFFIELD

  • Notion – offenders perceive maintenance of outdoor residential spaces by the occupants as likely to be defended

  • Support:

    Craik & Appleyard (1980)

    Taylor et al., (1984)

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Victimisation perspective IN SHEFFIELD

  • The “victimisation perspective” focuses on the characteristics and lifestyle of the victims and to see how that affect their risk of becoming a victim.

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Objectives of the study IN SHEFFIELD

  • 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

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Methodology IN SHEFFIELD

  • Main site selection criteria:

  • Council Estates in Sheffield - Similar demographic characteristics (Census SAS)

  • Varying crime rates (Police Offence and Offender Data)

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Views of Estate High (SE) IN SHEFFIELD

  • Graffiti & vandalism are a common sight in the area

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Methodology IN SHEFFIELD

  • Procedure:

    Conducted in 2 stages

    Stage 1 (Survey of 217 respondents)

    Stage 2 (Structured interviews – 12 respondents)

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Methodology IN SHEFFIELD

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)

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Methodology IN SHEFFIELD


  • Victimisation:

    Household & personal crimes (Based on 1996 BCS)

  • Territorial functioning:

    11 Attitude statements

    Observation of marking behaviour

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Examples of markers IN SHEFFIELD

Flower pot Number plate

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Examples of physical barrier IN SHEFFIELD

Hedge Fence

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Examples of gardening effort IN SHEFFIELD

High effort No effort

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Methodology IN SHEFFIELD

  • Stage 2 (Structured interviews – 12 respondents)

  • Purpose – Understand issues from the first stage

  • Emphasis on description and discovery and not on generalisation

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Results – Crime in the estates IN SHEFFIELD

Victimisation Survey Data

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Results - Demographic characteristics by household victimisation

Significant relationships (p<.05)

(Spearman’s rho & Mann-Whitney)


Length of residence

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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

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Results – Victimisation and territorial functioning victimisation

  • 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

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Two possible explanations victimisation

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

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Alternative explanation victimisation

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.

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Results - Interviews victimisation

  • 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

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Results - Interview victimisation

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.

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In contrast, victimisation

  • 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

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Discussion victimisation

  • Age and length of residence are related to household victimisation.

  • This reflects the individual guardianship by older and long term occupier.

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Discussion victimisation

  • Low territorial functioning is related to higher victimisation experience.

  • However, the relationship can work in both ways.

    High victimisation Low territorial


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Conclusion victimisation

  • 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.

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Conclusion victimisation

  • Focus on “multiple victimisation” because a high proportion of crimes are against the same people.

  • Territorial functioning - an environmental approach to crime prevention