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Investigation Into the Crime Scene Characteristics That Differentiate a Car Key Burglary From a Regular Domestic Burglary

NCJ Number
International Journal of Police Science & Management Volume: 13 Issue: 4 Dated: Winter 2011 Pages: 275-285
Emma Allcock; John W. Bond; Lisa L. Smith
Date Published
11 pages
This study examined the crime scene characteristics that differentiate a car key burglary from a regular domestic burglary.
As a result of the mandatory introduction in 1998 of electronic immobilizers in all new vehicles, car crime has evolved so that criminals resort to stealing vehicle keys during domestic burglaries in order to steal the vehicle subsequently. This new offence is referred to as 'car key burglary'. Building upon previous research (Shaw, Smith, & Bond, 2010), car key burglary data provided by Northamptonshire Police from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2009 was analyzed to identify the crime-scene characteristics that can differentiate a car key burglary from a regular domestic burglary. Significant differences were found between car key burglaries and regular domestic burglaries pertaining to the security of the property and the types of items stolen, with secure premises and items likely to be left in a vehicle overnight (such as satellite navigation systems, in-car DVD players and mobile telephones) being more indicative of car key burglary. The implications of these findings are considered and the limitations discussed in terms of the current methods of recording police data. Suggestions as to how police data recording might be amended to facilitate a better understanding of car key burglary are considered. (Published Abstract)