BURGLARY IN SCHOOLS
The prospects for prevention
RESEARCH AND PLANNING UNIT PAPER 11
London: Home Office
Crown Copyright 1982
RESEARCH AND PLANNING UNIT PAPERS
'Research and Planning Unit Papers' contain material of a rather more specialised nature than that which appears in the Unit's main publication outlet, the Home Office Research Studies series. As with that series, they result from research undertaken in the Home Office to assist in the exercise of its administrative functions, and for the information of the judicature, the services for which the Home Secretary has responsibility (direct or indirect) and the general public.
On the last pages of this Paper are listed titles already published in this series (the first four titles were known as Research Unit Papers), in the Home Office Research Studies series and in the earlier series Studies in the Causes of Delinquency and the Treatment of Offenders.
ISBN 0 86252 070 3
ISSN 0262 - 1738
This paper reports research carried out in London on burglaries in schools. Like other recent studies of burglary, it concludes that local circumstances, principally of design, were an important (if not the only) determinant of crime, and that any measures taken to reduce the opportunity to commit this offence must be to an extent tailored to the local situation.
I J CROFT
Head of the Research and Planning Unit
I would like to thank those officers of the Inner London Education Authority and the Greater London Council who provided advice and a s s i s t a n c e during the research and also the headteachers and schoolkeepers of the schools involved in the project for kindly giving their time.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF SCHOOL
BURGLARY AND SCHOOL DESIGN
OPPORTUNITIES FOR BURLGARY
A REVIEW OF PREVENTIVE MEASURES
CONCLUSION: AN APPROACH TO PREVENTION
METHODS OF DATA COLLECTION AND VARIABLES
USED IN THE STUDY
Burglaries in schools are only a small fraction (about 4%) of the total number of burglaries recorded by the police each year.(1) Probably for this reason the offence has received less attention from policy-makers and criminologists than residential burglary. Schools, however, are actually at considerable risk of burglary: in London, Metropolitan Police figures suggest that a school or college is 38 times more likely to be burgled than a residential dwelling, and a similar picture seems to hold in other parts of the world (cf. National Institute of Education, 1978). Schools are also more likely to be set on fire (which may be a consequence of burglary) than all other classes of property (Home Office, 1980). The means to control crimes against public property may well lie more in the hands of local authorities than the police (Clarke, 1978; Morris and Heal, 1981). Local education authorities already take practical steps to protect their property from burglary and vandalism but there is undoubtedly room for improvement. They also accept advice on crime prevention from the police, who in recent years have begun to encourage the active involvement of public and private institutions in the prevention of crime (Schaffer, 1980; Moore and Brown, 1981). This can involve the police in helping local authorities to safeguard their property and drawing their attention to the crime prevention implications of day-to-day policies and practices (Engstad and Evans, 1980). This study aims to assess the scope for preventing school burglary by a range of measures which might be implemented by local education authorities. It also aims to assist the police in giving crime prevention advice to schools. As such, it is a modest attempt to extend...
References: other parts of the world (cf. National Institute of Education, 1978).
Schools are also more likely to be set on fire (which may be a consequence
of burglary) than all other classes of property (Home Office, 1980).
The means to control crimes against public property may well lie more in
the hands of local authorities than the police (Clarke, 1978; Morris
and Heal, 1981). Local education authorities already take practical
steps to protect their property from burglary and vandalism but there is
(Schaffer, 1980; Moore and Brown, 1981). This can involve the police in
helping local authorities to safeguard their property and drawing their
attention to the crime prevention implications of day-to-day policies and
practices (Engstad and Evans, 1980)
There seem to be four broad approaches which underlie many of the suggestions made for preventing property crime in schools (Hope, 1980). These
can be thought of as the therapeutic approach, the school reform approach,
There is little in the way of reliable evidence to suggest which of these
courses are useful at first sight (Hope, 1980)
including violence and vandalism (cf.National Institute of Education, 1978;
Rutter et al., 1979)
1. This estimate is based on figures supplied by the Metropolitan Police
Rutter et al., 1979
less property crime if their pupils and the surrounding community hold them
in high regard (Stone and Taylor, 1977); yet it would be a considerable
useful in the prevention of a wide range of offences (Clarke and Mayhew,
Hough et al., (1980) define situational crime prevention as "measures
directed at highly specific forms of crime which involve the management,
for these crime as perceived by a broad range of offenders". Clarke (1980)
notes that this approach assumes that offenders choose to commit offences
property and the extent to which there are opportunities for others to
witness crime taking place (Mayhew et al., 1976)
Although manipulating opportunities may be easier than altering the motives
of offenders (Clarke, 1980), such manipulation may nevertheless entail
certain practical difficulties (Reppetto, 1976). Clarke (1978) has suggested that r . is necessary "to match our understanding of factors contributing
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