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Clarifying Responsibility for Crime and Safety Problems: Who is responsible for what? . Gloria Laycock Institute of Crime Science University College London. Agenda. What’s the problem? Responsibility and competency Roles and responsibilities Identifying levers Some examples: Car crime

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clarifying responsibility for crime and safety problems who is responsible for what

Clarifying Responsibility for Crime and Safety Problems:Who is responsible for what?

Gloria Laycock

Institute of Crime Science

University College London

  • What’s the problem?
  • Responsibility and competency
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Identifying levers
  • Some examples:
    • Car crime
    • Credit card fraud
    • Shop theft
  • Structural implications
what s the problem
What’s the problem?
  • A large retail store has the highest calls for service within all 3 districts of the division
  • They refuse to implement cp policies
  • The main office and ‘legal’ refuse to let them meet with the local police – bad for their image
  • The police say they’d like to take action but the company pays taxes to the city ….
  • traditional assumption - the police
  • In reality -
    • local authority
    • community/partnership groups
    • commerce
    • industry
    • individuals etc
  • Any individual or group with the power to change the situation, eg:
    • motor manufacturers
    • shop keepers
    • head teachers
    • Government departments
    • fuel companies
    • credit card designers etc
the individual should
The Individual Should:
  • Take sensible precautions to protect themselves, their families, friends and communities against crime
  • Not commit offences themselves
  • Not buy stolen goods
  • Ensure that their children are safe and are not themselves offending
  • Report crimes to the police
  • Support the criminal justice process as victims or witnesses where appropriate
the police and their partners should
The Police and Their Partners Should:
  • Collect accurate information on crime and disorder and share it
  • Ensure that they have the skills and knowledge to analyse their data and produce evidence-based responses on the basis of it
  • Target hotspots
  • Monitor the effects of their strategies and modify them where appropriate
  • Learn to use ‘levers’ to get action from other agencies and organisations
industry and commerce should
Industry and Commerce Should:
  • Design goods, services and policies with ‘crime in mind’
  • Understand that goods fitting the acronym ‘CRAVED’ will be stolen and need extra protection
  • Resist marketing their goods in ways which risk drawing young people into crime
  • Take some responsibility for the threat of theft, attack and other offences being directed at customers
  • Take reasonable measures to protect staff from victimisation through thoughtfulpolicies, practices and training programmes
federal state and local governments should
Federal, State and Local Governments Should:

... create a context within which we can all take responsibility for crime reduction, as individuals, as members of communities as directors of commerce and industry. This means:

  • Providing an efficient and effective criminal justice system
  • Encouraging the reporting of crime and the attendance in court of victims and witnesses
  • Encouraging us all to take responsibility
  • Ensuring that all those with the competency to contribute to crime prevention do so

Goldstein’s hierarchy of ways to shift ownership

Bringing of a civil action

Legislation mandating adoption

of prevention

Charging a fee for police service

Withdrawing police service

Increasingly difficult

Public shaming

Pressing for the creation of a new

organization to assume ownership

Engaging another existing organization

Less cooperative

Targeted confrontational requests

Straightforward informal requests

Educational programmes

motor vehicle theft
Motor Vehicle Theft


  • High rates of theft of and from cars
  • Top of the league in international comparisons
  • Vehicle crime accounts for over 25% of all crimes reported to the police
  • Some cars are more popular with thieves than others
  • Cars had poor security - inadequate locks and no immobilisers
  • Requests for improved car security had been ignored
  • Government advisory board established to make recommendations: we need a car theft index
why did we need a car theft index
Why Did We Need a Car Theft Index?

The government exercised its responsibility to press the car manufacturers into action and acknowledged the need for a lever:

The car manufacturers alone had the competency to redesign the car

the car theft index
The Car Theft Index
  • Number of cars stolen of a given type divided by the number on the road
  • Complications -
    • What does type mean?
    • How will security relate to the car type?
    • Where can we get accurate data?
some techy bits
Some Techy Bits ...

Deciding how far to break down the car type was a major issue

outline of the smmt classification system for motor vehicles
Outline of the SMMT classification system for motor vehicles

MAKE Ford Vauxhall Volkwagen

(Approx 70 makes)

MODEL Escort Cavalier Golf

(Approx 290 models)

RANGE Escort Mk1 Cavalier Mk1 Golk Mk1

(Approx 350 ranges) Escort Mk2 Cavalier Mk2 Golk Mk2

Escort Mk3 Cavalier Mk3 Golk Mk3

Escort Mk4

LINE 1987 1392cc Ford Escort GL Plus Mk3

(Approx 4,500 Lines) 1984 1608cc Ford Escort GL Diesel Mk3

1981 1598cc Vauxhall Cavalier L Mk2

1989 1796cc Vauxhall Cavalier GL Mk3

1979 1093cc Volkswagen Golf GL Mk1

1976 1499cc Volkswagen Golf GLS Mk1


Top 9 ranges in use at the end of 1989

Ford Escort Mk2

Ford Cortina Mk5

Ford Sierra MK1

Ford Fiesta Mk1

Rover Mini

Ford Fiesta Mk2

Vauxhall Cavalier Mk2

Rover Metro Mk1

Ford Escort Mk3

Source: Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

theft risks for the top 22 volume car ranges
Theft risks for the top 22 volume car ranges














Notes ...
  • Car security isn’t the only issue when thieves target vehicles
    • some cars are more attractive to thieves
    • older cars are more likely to be parked in high risk places and owned by poorer people who don’t fit security devices
    • some spare parts are more difficult to get than others etc
effect of the index 1992
Effect of the Index (1992)
  • The police loved it
  • The manufacturers took it on the chin
  • The insurance industry was supportive
  • The consumer groups were keen
  • The media picked up on it
  • It avoided legislation
  • It was very popular with the politicians

The Effect of the Car Theft Index?

Years in which Car Theft Indices published

credit card fraud
Credit Card Fraud
  • Scanning:
    • Police report credit cards thefts are significant
  • Analysis:
    • losses rose by 126% between 1988 and 1990 across the sector
  • Response:
    • Report to financial institutions who worked together
    • Established Association of Payment Clearing Services
    • Raise floor limit of transactions
    • Change method of sending cards to customers
  • Assessment:
    • losses dropped by 41% between 1992 and 1994

Credit card fraud losses, UK, £ millions

Other Card not Application counter- Mail non- Lost & Total

present fraud feit receipt stolen

1991 1.6 0.4 2.0 4.6 32.9 124.1 165.6

1992 1.0 1.3 1.4 8.4 29.6 123.2 165.0

1993 0.8 1.6 0.9 9.9 18.2 98.5 129.9

1994 0.5 2.5 0.7 9.6 12.6 71.1 96.9

1995 0.3 4.6 1.5 7.7 9.1 60.1 83.3

1996 0.5 6.5 6.7 13.3 10.0 60.0 97.1

1997 1.2 12.5 11.9 20.3 12.5 66.2 122.0

1998 2.3 13.6 14.5 26.8 12.0 65.8 135.0

1999 3.0 29.3 11.4 50.3 14.6 79.7 188.3

2000 6.5 56.8 10.2 102.8 17.3 98.9 292.5

shop theft
Shop Theft
  • Scanning – Shop theft in Oxford Street, London
    • 40% of shop thieves arrested in one store
  • Analysis
    • Special data collection exercise by store detectives
    • £100 per thief to process through the CJS
    • Arrestees mainly juvenile first offenders, UK citizens
    • Store policy to detect crime rather than prevent it
    • Reason for high crime rate: irresponsible marketing
  • Recommended response: Move to prevention – adopt the ‘master-bag’ system
  • Store said no!
  • Compromise on the basis of threat:
    • Move to prevention
    • Lower height of displays
    • Raise checkout platforms – improve sight lines
    • Employ security guards, not store detectives
    • Stop selling high risk computer tapes
    • Tag popular items
the earlier example
The earlier example
  • Large retail store with too many calls for service, theft by customers and staff, bad checks, theft of and from cars on the lot:
  • Recommendations
    • Better and additional cameras on lot and in store
    • Greeters at all doors to check customers and look at receipts
    • Thumb print on all checks with 2 forms of ID
    • Large signs with cameras to lot about CCTV presence
  • No to all!
So …..
  • Advice from Rana:
    • Tell them the problems: give them the facts
    • List the best practice responses – quote the POP guides
    • Copy to corporate HQ – ideally to the President personally
    • Say that the store said that Corporate HQ refused to let them take preventive measures and ask if that’s true
    • Tell them that the press will be interested in their reply
questions for scanning response development stages
Questions for scanning/response development stages
  • Whose problem is this?
    • Who is the victim?
    • Who bears the real cost?
  • Who has the competency to change the situation?
    • Are they motivated to do so (eg do they bear the cost of crime or profit by it?)
  • Does leverage need to be applied to get action? If so, what?
  • Who can apply that leverage?
locally you need
Locally you need
  • Good data and sound rationale
  • Inter-agency working relationships
  • Effective project management
  • To identify who has the competency to act
  • To make effective use of levers with the support of your local politicians
at federal and state levels you need
At Federal and State levels you need
  • A structure to ‘hear’ problems
  • To identify ‘levers’ at national level
  • An environmental scanning facility to respond to problems before they happen
academics should
Academics should …..

Work with the police and others to:

  • Understand the nature of crime
  • Develop evidence based policies to prevent and detect crime
  • Communicate clearly
  • Train analysts
  • Behave like scientists
a word about crime science
A Word About Crime Science
  • About reducing crime ethically using the techniques of the scientist:
    • data
    • Logic
    • evidence
    • rationality
    • testing hypotheses
    • Establishing knowledge
  • Finding out what works, where and how
future prospects
Future Prospects
  • By working together – police and scientists can:
    • Really understand the nature of crime
    • Reduce it to the lowest possible level
    • Make communities safer
  • But to do that they need:
    • To take a problem solving approach
    • Employ well trained analysts
    • Use levers