The Ethnography of Crime in Belfast

John D. Brewer, Bill Lockhart and Paula Rodgers

in Crime In Ireland 1945–95:

Published in print July 1997 | ISBN: 9780198265702
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682940 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Studies in Criminology

The Ethnography of Crime in Belfast

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The rationale behind the ethnographic study of crime in Belfast is to use the benefits of the ethnographic method to supplement the quantitative approach to crime trends. The data are drawn from two closely matched police sub-divisions in Belfast, Castlereagh in East Belfast and Woodburn in the West of the city. There is an issue prompted by these ethnographic findings concerning the policing vacuum that exists in the working class, inner city neighbourhoods of the two study areas. A policing vacuum exists where there is an unmet need for ordinary civil policing. The existence of a policing vacuum is a measure of the illegitimacy or ineffectiveness of the official police service which is supposed to dispense ordinary civil policing and ‘official’ crime management. Evidence for this vacuum is shown by whether people manage crime themselves locally and whether there are other informal mechanisms for policing.

Keywords: local crime; crime reporting; crime management; Belfast; RUC; policing vacuum

Chapter.  36542 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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