Due to several factors that include a declining economy, high unemployment, home down‐sizing trends and the aging population, the weekend private home sales have permeated every residential neighborhood in the country. Countless households have garage sales, and many times they contain items of considerable value. Little is known about this vast phenomenon and its potential for criminal opportunity. Based on a survey of North Texas residents that held a garage sale, the authors aimed to extract some important findings on a topic that has had little attention.
Due to the exploratory nature of the study, descriptive statistics were utilized to provide insight into what takes place at garage sales. The areas of concentration in this research included the independent variables of the home garage sale environment and the dependent variables of theft and deviant behavior. Although several environmental factors were examined.
Findings included thefts, inquiry to buy guns, small organized groups working to distract watchers, changing prices, and attempting intimidation with inappropriate remarks.
This research has several limitations that require explanation. First, the authors utilized a convenience sample by mailing to addresses from public newspapers. The study findings suggested that future research utilize a larger random sample of different areas over a longer period of time to increase generalizability.
The researchers realize that each state and city may be different from the area studied and may not be applicable to everyone. Nevertheless, this study highlights the need for, as well as provides the basis for, additional interest in determining crime at garage and yard sales.
The study suggested offenders may be attracted into neighborhoods where, as strangers, they are not recognized as strangers therefore allowing them unrestricted access to communities.
Crime and associated criminal activity and yard sales have been overlooked. Not until they seem to permeate every neighborhood has anyone related them to crime. Little is known about this vast phenomenon and its potential for criminal opportunity.