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Motorcycle Theft, Helmet Legislation and Displacement

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Abstract

Most current theory, which treats crime as an expression of psychological or social malaise, would hold that displacement of offending undermines the value of measures to reduce opportunities for crime. However, a drop of more than 60% in motorcycle thefts in the Federal Republic of Germany, brought about by the introduction in 1980 of fines for failing to wear a crash helmet, was not followed by increases in thefts of cars or bicycles. This may have been because bike or car thefts do not offer a similar combination of costs and benefits for the offender as opportunistic thefts of motorcycles. More generally, it appears that a ‘rational choice’ perspective on crime is likely to result in more fruitful analysis of displacement.

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... as such, situational crime prevention can actually include CPTED-based interventions (Clarke & Elliot, 1989). ...
... Of particular interest is the standard action research methodology associated with situational crime prevention (Lewin, 1947). This methodology consists of five steps (Gladstone, 1980;Clarke & Elliot, 1989): ...
... Na de invoering van deze wet daalde de diefstal van motoren met 60 procent. Het belangrijkste is dat er niet meer diefstallen plaatsvonden van fietsen of auto's, er leek dus geen sprake te zijn van vervangende diefstal (Mayhew, Clarke, & Elliott, 1989). Door het manipuleren van de omgeving kan men dus belangrijke effecten hebben op gedrag. ...
Article
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In dit stuk beantwoorden we de vraag wat verstandig beleid met betrekking tot criminaliteitspreventie is, d.w.z. beleid dat wordt ondersteund door de meest recente wetenschappelijke inzichten. Ook voor lokale initiatieven is het essentieel om beleid met een adequaat onderzoek te begeleiden om de effecten en indien mogelijk de kosten/baten van de onderzochte maatregelen te evalueren. In dit verhaal gaan we in op enkele voorbeelden van beleid op het terrein van criminaliteit, en geven daarbij aan wat werkt en wat niet. We concluderen dat criminaliteitsbeleid niet alleen gericht moet zijn op potentiële daders, maar dat het belangrijker is om de context waarin criminaliteit wordt gepleegd in het beleid te betrekken. Allereerst wordt een aantal belangrijke feiten met betrekking tot criminaliteit uiteengezet. Daarna volgen de principes van criminaliteitsbestrijding. Vervolgens wordt uiteengezet waarom experimenteel onderzoek van groot belang is. We eindigen met een overzicht van waar de beste informatie te vinden is.
... 4. A number of studies were published during this period providing strong evidence about the causal role of opportunity, several of which I undertook with Pat Mayhew. First, we showed in Mayhew et al. (1989) that the introduction of helmet laws in various countries had a dramatic effect in reducing theft of motorcycles, apparently because motorcycle thefts were frequently unplanned which meant that opportunistic thieves would be immediately noticed when riding past without a helmet.Table 1 shows data from Germany where the laws were progressively enforced, having been first brought into effect in 1980. The table shows that motor cycle thefts were greatly reduced with little if any consistent evidence of displacement to car or bicycle thefts. ...
Article
Background This paper describes the work undertaken over many years by the author and colleagues concerning the role of opportunity in crime. The work began in the early 1970s in the Home Office Research Unit, the British government’s criminological research department. Discussions The work supported a preventive approach – situational crime prevention – that was highly contentious in the criminology of the day because it sought to reduce opportunities for crime, rather than to modify offender propensities. Critics claimed that situational crime prevention would displace rather than reduce crime because they assumed that opportunity merely determines the time and place of crime, but does not cause it. Summary This paper describes the difficulties in establishing that opportunity is cause of crime and why this took so long. It reviews the research that was undertaken to this end, and it summarizes the benefits for criminology and crime policy of accepting that opportunity does cause crime.
... The first of these falls within the traditional realm of the routine activity approach. An example is the fall in motorcycle theft brought about by enforced legislation requiring that helmets be worn to improve rider and pillion safety (Mayhew et al., 1989). The opportunity for theft was inadvertently reduced, because motorcycle thieves could no longer inconspicuously ride a stolen motorcycle if they did not happen to have a helmet with them. ...
Article
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Target suitability is a cornerstone of Marcus Felson’s routine activities approach, and critical in determining crime rates. Recent research identifies reduced target suitability, via improved security, as central to the ’crime drop’ experienced in many countries. Studies in different countries show car theft fell with far more and better vehicle security. Yet increases in household security were more modest and do not track burglary’s decrease as well. Here we explain that apparent anomaly as due more to an improvement in the quality of household security leading to reduced burglary. It is further suggested that improvements to home insulation in the UK that brought double glazing may have, somewhat inadvertently, introduced better frames and locks for doors and windows, that in turn reduced household burglary.
... The potential applicability of SCP to auto theft became apparent in an early study of motorcycle theft in Germany. Mayhew, Clarke, and Elliott (1989) found that thefts of motorcycles were reduced dramatically following the introduction of a law requiring all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. Because motorcycle thefts were primarily opportunistic events committed for transportation purposes, it was unlikely that a potential thief would have a helmet available at the time and place when the opportunity to steal a motorcycle arose. ...
Article
The study of the repeat victimization phenomenon is at the forefront of research in environmental criminology and situational crime prevention (SCP). This study utilizes a unique approach in that it compares data collected at two points in time as well as locations that experienced only one auto theft to those that experienced more than one. Five variables were measured at both points in time using the Watchers, Activity Nodes, Location, Lighting and Security indices (WALLS). Independent samples t tests were conducted for the WALLS variables while comparing data from 2004-2005 to 2006-2007. Findings indicate stability in the Watchers, Activity Nodes, and Lighting indices but statistically significant differences in the Watchers (day traffic variable) and Location and Security indices. The “Location” variable continues to be a significant predictor of repeat auto theft victimization. This suggests a need to closely examine the parking structures and street layout to determine how they can be altered to design out crime.
... Assessing displacement, however, typically requires assessing crime changes outside the boundary of the CPTED project. It is difficult to measure displacement (Hollin 1989;Barr and Pease 1992) and it has been observed in studies of car steering locks (Mayhew, Clarke, and Elliott 1989) and CCTV (Burrows 1980). Gabor (1990) has argued that the inability to detect and measure displacement does not mean that it did not occur. ...
Article
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This article reviews the current status of the concept of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED). It provides an overview of its history and origins and defines how it is commonly understood and conceptualized. Globally, CPTED is an increasingly popular crime prevention strategy supported by governments all over Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as in Asia and South Africa. This review inspects some of the evidence associated with CPTED and provides a detailed overview of the main criticisms facing this field.
... And a dramatic fall in the number of motorcycle thefts in West Germany in 1980 followed the introduction of penalties for failing to wear a crash helmet. The need to have a helmet greatly reduces the scope for opportunistic thefts (Mayhew et al. 1989). ...
... Research has also found that a side-effect of making helmet-wearing compulsory for motorcyclists, and enforcing that obligation, has been to reduce levels of motorcycle theft. Mayhew, Clarke and Elliot (1989) show that in the Federal Republic of Germany between 1980 and 1986, during which there was progressive enforcement of helmet legislation, theft of motorcycles fell by 65 per cent, a drop of 99,000 per annum. Over the same period theft of cars increased by 10 per cent, or 6,000 per annum, and theft of pedal cycles fell by 16 per cent, or 57,000 per annum -displacement to other forms of vehicle theft does not seem to have occurred. ...
... In practice, they have had to be rather opportunistic themselves in seeking out examples of the successful application of these techniques. The introduction of laws requiring that riders of motor bikes wear helmets had the fortuitous effect of reducing the theft of motor bikes in the UK ( Mayhew et al. 1989). Because similar legislation had been enacted in Germany, and because there were better data available there, it was possible for the researchers to specifically test for displacement. ...
Article
Against a background of high crime across Europe, this paper argues that there is scope for improving police performance in detection. It also suggests that a more balanced approach to crime control is needed, with a shift in policy emphasis toward prevention. Both improved police performance in detection and the approach advocated for increased preventive effort are rooted in science. The specific role of science and technology in the context of crime control is considered and its implications for public policy and police training are briefly discussed. It is suggested that the problem-oriented approach to crime prevention, as increasingly practiced by the UK police and those in other jurisdictions, could be described as approaching scientific method, and perhaps be promoted as such.
... Both conflicting theoretical perspectives and inconsistent empirical evidence concerning the displacement of crime after prevention and control measures have resulted in different views on displacement. For instance, studies on suicide (Clarke and Mayhew, 1988), motorcycle theft (Mayhew, Clarke, and Elliott, 1989), cheque forgery (Knutsson and Kuhlhorn, 1981), and obscene phone calls (Clarke, 1990), all illustrated that crime displacement is minimal or can be avoided. The evidence provided by these empirical research projects has lent support to the belief that crime displacement is not inevitable, and that it can be prevented or controlled through the implementation of appropriate crime policies. ...
Article
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In September of 2004, the government of South Korea enacted the 'Act on the Punishment of Intermediating in the Sex Trade'. Included in the law are strict penalties, such as large fines and long prison sentences for both the owners of brothels and their patrons. Despite this law, many observers in Korea have suggested that the sex trade within Korea has been displaced from red light districts to more clandestine locations, including barbershops, karaoke parlours, massage parlours, and even cyberspace. They argue that the act does little more than suppress the sex trade in one place, which then causes it to resurface somewhere else. Another term for this phenomenon is crime displacement. Several scholars have contributed to the development of a displacement typology: spatial, temporal, tactical, target, and offence. Whatever the specific type, displacement is an adaptive response. Displacement is a central concern of researchers, policymakers, and others concerned with crime prevention and proactive policing. An analysis of the Korean case will provide important insights into the dynamics of crime displacement. The paper introduces the theoretical background of crime displacement and presents theories and general concepts of crime displacement. A discussion then follows regarding the analysis of official data on prostitution in the years 2000 to 2009 and a news content analysis of crime displacement based on 174 newspaper articles as well as a secondary data analysis derived from a survey of 1,078 Korean sex workers in seven cities throughout South Korea. Finally, the paper discusses the implications of theory and policy for improving our understanding of current antiprostitution policies and efforts to control prostitution.
... The first of these falls within the traditional realm of the routine activity approach. An example is the fall in motorcycle theft brought about by enforced legislation requiring that helmets be worn to improve rider and pillion safety (Mayhew et al., 1989). The opportunity for theft was inadvertently reduced, because motorcycle thieves could no longer inconspicuously ride a stolen motorcycle if they did not happen to have a helmet with them. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The initial focus of Felson’s routine activity perspective was the crime increases of the 1960s and 1970s that were largely a function of inadvertent changes in everyday life (Cohen & Felson, 1979). The rise in crime was an unintended side effect of developments in technology, transportation, and domestic life that were widely welcomed. More money, more consumer goods, more labour-saving devices, more transport, and more employment opportunities for women, for example, all brought benefits to citizens, but they also created more crime opportunities and hence sustained increases in crime.
... There are a number of studies of successful applications of situational prevention 6 . A well-known illustration of this approach is the study of Mayhew et al (1989) also reported in Clarke (1987). They studied the effect of a reform that enforced the use of helmet for motorcycle riders. ...
... Careful analysis of the empirical research on displacement also indicates that while displacement is a possible consequence of crime prevention, it is not inevitable. For instance, studies on suicide (Clarke and Mayhew, 1988), motorcycle theft (Mayhew et al., 1989), check forgery (Knutsson and Kuhlhorn, 1981), obscene phone calls (Clarke, 1990b), and prostitution (Matthews, 1990) all illustrate that crime displacement can be avoided. Cornish and Clarke (1987) showed that if there is any displacement, it occurs only under particular circumstances. ...
... The first of these falls within the traditional realm of the routine activity approach. An example is the fall in motorcycle theft brought about by enforced legislation requiring that helmets be worn to improve rider and pillion safety (Mayhew et al., 1989). The opportunity for theft was inadvertently reduced, because motorcycle thieves could no longer inconspicuously ride a stolen motorcycle if they did not happen to have a helmet with them. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The initial focus of Felson’s routine activity perspective was the crime increases of the 1960s and 1970s that were largely a function of inadvertent changes in everyday life (Cohen & Felson, 1979). The rise in crime was an unintended side effect of developments in technology, transportation, and domestic life that were widely welcomed. More money, more consumer goods, more labour-saving devices, more transport, and more employment opportunities for women, for example, all brought benefits to citizens, but they also created more crime opportunities and hence sustained increases in crime.
... The first of these falls within the traditional realm of the routine activity approach. An example is the fall in motorcycle theft brought about by enforced legislation requiring that helmets be worn to improve rider and pillion safety (Mayhew et al., 1989). The opportunity for theft was inadvertently reduced, because motorcycle thieves could no longer inconspicuously ride a stolen motorcycle if they did not happen to have a helmet with them. ...
Chapter
The initial focus of Felson’s routine activity perspective was the crime increases of the 1960s and 1970s that were largely a function of inadvertent changes in everyday life (Cohen & Felson, 1979). The rise in crime was an unintended side effect of developments in technology, transportation, and domestic life that were widely welcomed. More money, more consumer goods, more labour-saving devices, more transport, and more employment opportunities for women, for example, all brought benefits to citizens, but they also created more crime opportunities and hence sustained increases in crime.
... The first of these falls within the traditional realm of the routine activity approach. An example is the fall in motorcycle theft brought about by enforced legislation requiring that helmets be worn to improve rider and pillion safety (Mayhew et al., 1989). The opportunity for theft was inadvertently reduced, because motorcycle thieves could no longer inconspicuously ride a stolen motorcycle if they did not happen to have a helmet with them. ...
... This theft source is not insignificant. Mayhew, Clarke, and Elliot (1989) find that motorcycle theft decreased in Germany after a law passed that required motorcycle drivers to wear a helmet. The interpretation given to this finding is that joyrider thieves do not prepare for a theft, but rather take advantage of attractive theft opportunities to have a moment of fun. ...
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Situational crime prevention can be characterized as comprising measures (1) directed at highly specific forms of crime (2) that involve the management, design, or manipulation of the immediate environment in as systematic and permanent a way as possible (3) so as to reduce the opportunities for crime and increase its risks as perceived by a wide range of offenders. These measures include various forms of target hardening (making the objects of crime less vulnerable), defensible space architecture (which encourages residents in housing projects to exercise territorial surveillance of the public spaces outside their dwellings), community crime prevention initatives (e. g., neighborhood watch and citizen patrol schemes), and a number of less-easily categorized measures such as improved coordination of public transport with pub closing times, or more sensitive public housing allocation policies that avoid the concentration of children in particular housing developments. Traditional criminological theories ha...
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Developments in a number of academic disciplines-the sociology of deviance, criminology, economics, psychology-suggest that it is useful to see criminal behavior not as the result of psychologically and socially determined dispositions to offend, but as the outcome of the offender's broadly rational choices and decisions. This perspective provides a basis for devising models of criminal behavior that (1) offer frameworks within which to locate existing research, (2) suggest directions for new research, (3) facilitate analysis of existing policy, and (4) help to identify potentially fruitful policy initiatives. Such models need not offer comprehensive explanations; they may be limited and incomplete, yet still be "good enough" to achieve these important policy and research purposes. To meet this criterion they need to be specific to particular forms of crime, and they need separately to describe both the processes of involvement in crime and the decisions surrounding the commission of the offense itself. Developing models that are crime specific and that take due account of rationality will also demand more knowledge about the ways in which offenders process and evaluate relevant information. Such a decision perspective appears to have most immediate payoff for crime control efforts aimed at reducing criminal opportunity.
Article
This article examines the argument that crime prevention programs which stress opportunity reduction or increased risk to offenders are without value because they merely displace crime—that is, shift its incidence to other forms, times, and locales. The paper is based in part on two empirical studies that examined the criminal histories of and interviews with 146 robbers and burglars. Deterministic and opportunistic criminal behavior and the influence of personality, age, and crime type on the displace ment potential of various offenders are analyzed. The results suggest that there are definite limits to various displacement possibilities. Some crimes are so opportunistic that their pre vention in one circumstance will not lead to their occurrence in another. Even in instances where offenders blocked in one sphere would wish to operate in another, limits and costs will lessen the frequency of operation and therefore reduce the overall crime rate. The study further suggests that the limitations to displace ment are most salient for specific types of crimes, criminals, and geographic areas. Thus the displacement potential of an anticrime strategy can be gauged in advance and, in certain instances, be minimized.
Article
It has been claimed that the rational choice perspective, which sees criminal behavior as the outcome of decisions and choices made by the offender, can provide a useful framework for analyzing crime control policies. By developing the concept of “choice-structuring properties,” which refers to the constellation of opportunities, costs, and benefits attaching to particular kinds of crime, this paper attempts to develop rational choice theory in order to improve analysis of crime displacement—a concept frequently invoked by the critics of opportunity-reducing measures of crime prevention.
Article
A detailed analysis of suicide rates between 1960 and 1971 for England and Wales and for Scotland confirms that all age-sex subgroups have shown a marked decline in suicide due to domestic gas, corresponding in time to the fall in the CO content. After considering data on the effects of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) Eighth Revision, accident mortality, some personal characteristics of coal gas suicides, and the use of coal gas in parasuicide it was concluded that a simple casual explantation was likely. Suicide due to non-gas methods has in general increased, markedly so in some groups. It was suggested that neither improved psychiatric services nor voluntary agencies could have produced such changes. The 'compensatory' trend of gas and non-gas suicide rates was indicated for certain age-sex subgroups. The continuing need for suicide research was pointed out, and questions were raised concerning the psychological meaning of the epidemiological data.
Impact of Police Activity on Crime: Robberies on the
  • J J Chaiken
  • M W Lawless
  • K Stevenson
Chaiken, J. J., Lawless, M. W. and Stevenson, K. (1974) Impact of Police Activity on Crime: Robberies on the New York City Subway System (Report No. R-1424-N.Y.C.), Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation.
Situational crime control and rational choice: a critique Situational Crime Prevention: From Theory into PracticePrevention and technology
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Trasler, G. (1986) 'Situational crime control and rational choice: a critique', in: K. Heal and G. Laycock (Eds.), Situational Crime Prevention: From Theory into Practice, London: H. M.S.0. Van Straelen, F. W. M. (1978) 'Prevention and technology', in: Proceedings of thc 1978 Cran$eld Conference on the Prevention of Crime in Europe (Supplementary Papers II), London: Peel Press.
The crime displacement hypothesis: a n empirical examination Situational Crime Prevention: From Theory Into Practice
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Gabor, T. ( 1981) 'The crime displacement hypothesis: a n empirical examination', Crime and Delinquency, 26, 390404, Heal, K. and Laycock, G. (1986) Situational Crime Prevention: From Theory Into Practice, London: H.M.S.O.
Crime as Opportunity (Home Office Research Study No. 34)
  • P M Mayhew
  • R V Clarke
  • A Sturman
  • J M Hough
Mayhew, P. M., Clarke, R. V., Sturman, A. and Hough, J. M. (1976) Crime as Opportunity (Home Office Research Study No. 34), London: H.M.S.O.
Policing Prostitution (Centre for Criminology Paper l )
  • R Matthews
Matthews, R. (1986) Policing Prostitution (Centre for Criminology Paper l ), London: Middlesex Polytechnic.