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MEASURING VANDALISM IN A CITY SUBURB (FROM TACKLING VANDALISM, 1978, BY R V G CLARKE - SEE NCJ-53090)

NCJ Number
53091
Author(s)
A STURMAN
Date Published
1978
Length
10 pages
Annotation
THE EXTENT OF VANDALISM IN A MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, SUBURB IS ASSESSED ON THE BASIS OF STATISTICS COMPILED FROM OFFICIAL RECORDS AND FROM VICTIM SURVEYS.
Abstract
SEMIDETACHED DWELLINGS, APARTMENT BUILDINGS (INCLUDING THREE BLOCKS OF PUBLIC HOUSING FOR THE ELDERLY), A SHOPPING DISTRICT, SCHOOLS, A LIBRARY, AND A SWIMMING POOL ARE INCLUDING IN THE STUDY AREA, WHICH HAS A POPULATION OF 17,000 (4,987 HOUSEHOLDS). STATISTICS ON VANDALISM IN THE AREA WERE GATHERED FROM POLICE RECORDS, POST OFFICE RECORDS ON VANDALISM TO TELEPHONE BOOTHS, AND THE RECORDS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES CHARGED WITH MAINTAINING PUBLIC PROPERTY. IN ADDITION, SURVEYS WERE CONDUCTED OF 205 RESIDENTS (141 RESPONSES), 10 TEACHERS, AND 78 SHOP MANAGERS AND EMPLOYEES, WHO WERE ASKED TO REPORT INCIDENTS OF DAMAGE IN THE 6 MONTHS PRIOR TO THE SURVEYS. THE VICTIM SURVEYS REVEAL 820 INCIDENTS OF VANDALISM IN 6 MONTHS. POST OFFICE REPORTS ON TELEPHONE BOOTH DAMAGE BRING THAT NUMBER TO 940. PRIVATE HOMES APPARENTLY ARE MUCH LESS VULNERABLE TO VANDALISM THAN IS PUBLIC PROPERTY. THE FINDINGS SHOW THAT POLICE RECORDS GIVE A VERY INACCURATE PICTURE OF THE EXTENT OF VANDALISM. THE VICTIM SURVEYS AND POST OFFICE REPORTS REVEAL 14 TO 15 TIMES AS MANY INCIDENTS AS WERE REPORTED IN POLICE RECORDS (35 TIMES AS MANY AS WERE INDICATED IN OFFICIAL CRIME STATISTICS, WHICH INCLUDE ONLY INCIDENTS INVOLVING MORE THAN 20 POUNDS IN DAMAGE). THE ADVANTAGES AND WEAKNESSES OF EACH DATA SOURCE (POLICE RECORDS, OTHER OFFICIAL RECORDS, VICTIM SURVEYS) IN ASSESSING THE EXTENT OF VANDALISM ARE POINTED OUT, WITH REFERENCE TO IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE ATTEMPTS TO MEASURE VANDALISM IN PUBLIC HOUSING AREAS. SUPPORTING DATA ARE INCLUDED. (LKM)