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Explaining Repeat Residential Burglaries: An Analysis of Property Stolen (From Repeat Victimization, P 119-132, 2001, Graham Farrell and Ken Pease, eds. -- See NCJ-189391)

NCJ Number
Date Published
14 pages
This study examined records of property stolen during repeat residential burglaries in Dallas, TX, and San Diego, CA, in order to determine whether burglars sometimes return to steal items left behind on the first burglary and to steal replacements for items stolen in the first burglary.
The Dallas sample of residential burglaries was drawn from the Northeast patrol division, which encompassed approximately one-sixth of the total area within the city. Repeat burglaries were identified by using 1995 as the baseline year. For each residential burglary that occurred in that year, a search was made for 1 year before and 1 year later to identify other burglaries at that same address. The San Diego sample was drawn from a database for the entire city of all repeat residential burglary addresses for January 1, 1994, to December 31, 1996. Information about the property stolen on both the first and second occasions was classified under 30 separate categories that fell into 4 broader groups: electronic goods, cash and jewelry, equipment, and personal items. The hypothesis that burglars returned to take items left behind on the first burglary was tested by using the sample of "early repeats" (within 30 days of the first burglary). This hypothesis would be supported if items not taken on the first occasion were taken on the second occasion. The samples of "delayed" repeats (after 30 days) were used to test the hypothesis that burglars returned to steal items that had been replaced. Support for this view would come from evidence that the same items were stolen on both the first and second occasions. Evidence was found for only the second hypothesis, i.e., that burglars sometimes return to steal replacement items. For delayed repeat burglaries in both cities, the same items of property were taken more often than expected on both first and second burglaries. Even so, returning for replacement property explained at best only a small proportion of repeat burglaries. A more complete explanation might result from studies that compare burglaries that are repeated with those that are not. 3 tables, 5 notes, and 10 references

Date Published: January 1, 2001