Repeat Victimization

Louise Grove and Graham Farrell

in Criminology

ISBN: 9780195396607
Published online June 2011 | | DOI:
Repeat Victimization

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Repeat victimization refers to the repeated criminal victimization of a person, household, place, business, vehicle or other target however defined. Near repeat victimization or near repeats refer to targets with similar characteristics or situations (also virtual repeats). Repeats can be the same or different crime types. It is generally accepted that a small proportion of any population of potential targets experience a vastly disproportionate amount of the crime because they are repeatedly victimized. Even within the population of repeats, a smaller set of supertargets experience chronic crime. The significance for many policy purposes, but particularly crime prevention, is that a focus upon repeats can greatly increase the efficiency with which resources are used. Most repeat victimization research relates to how it can be prevented, so crime prevention is the backdrop for much of this bibliography. There were a limited number of studies in the 1970s, with the field developing mainly from the late 1980s onward in the wake of the Kirkholt Burglary Prevention Project, which successfully targeted repeat burglaries for prevention. This spurred other prevention efforts and a broader range of research into the extent and nature of repeat victimization, including methodological studies. Among the more widespread indicators of impact in this area of research is the fact that it is now normal for studies to incorporate a measure of repeat victimization because previous practice of focusing only on the number of crimes as “the crime rate” is known to be frequently misleading. In the 1990s and 2000s there were a series of efforts, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States, to incorporate the prevention of repeat victimization into mainstream policy and practice. Good practice guides for policing were developed in both countries. In the United Kingdom, repeat victimization was formally incorporated as a key performance measure for policing and each of that country’s police forces was obliged to develop and implement a policy on repeat victimization prevention. Many victim services organizations sought to change their orientation by providing advice on preventing further victimization rather than the traditional practice of reassuring victims that crime was less likely to happen to them again. In recent years, the role of repeats in high crime area hot spots and similar concentrations of crime is increasingly apparent. There is an increasing incorporation of key concepts such as hot products, risky facilities, hot places and hot routes, into repeat victimization research as it has become clear that they are related forms of repeats or near repeats, including repeats of the same or different crime types. This evolving theoretical and conceptual integration should be to the long-term benefit of crime prevention efforts that seek to address crime’s highly repetitive nature and tendency to concentrate along whichever dimension it is measured. As repeat victimization has become an integral component of many “general” studies of crime, increased cherry picking was necessary to maintain the bibliography’s parameters, and so while conscious of some exclusion, we welcome comments and suggestions for revision.

Article.  10549 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Criminal Justice ; Criminology

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