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Policing Urban Burglary

NCJ Number
Jerry Ratcliffe
Date Published
August 2001
6 pages
This document provides an analysis of burglary patterns in Australia and discusses a burglary reduction operation conducted by the police.
The annual financial and economic costs of burglary to Australia have been estimated in excess of $1,000 million, not counting the impact on victims or increased security measures in the community. Rates of residential burglary in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) were the third highest for a State or Territory in Australia for 2000. There was an increase of 75 percent since 1997. For the years 1999 and 2000, over 70 percent of burglaries were classified as occurring at residential dwellings, over 9 percent at shops, and over 20 percent at premises such as churches, sports clubs, schools, and other educational establishments. Thirty percent of burglaries therefore occurred at non-residential locations. The highest probability for residential burglaries was between 8:00 a.m. and about 6:00 p.m. Residential burglaries were lower over the weekend. Non-residential burglary increased over the weekend and overnight when many commercial premises, schools, and colleges were unattended. In response to the high levels of burglary in Canberra, ACT police began Operation Anchorage at the end of February 2001. The program was a dedicated burglary reduction initiative with 4 teams of about 10 to 12 investigators. In addition to the deployment of investigative teams, a number of other strategies were incorporated into Operation Anchorage, including use of traffic police for stops and random breath tests in high burglary areas, and increased opposition to bail for persistent offenders. At the start of Operation Anchorage there was a drop in the number of recorded burglaries within the ACT. It is reasonable to conclude that police were having an impact on criminal behavior. However, the limitations of available resources to support a protracted operation have become evident over time. 1 note, 20 references