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Property of Fayard Hall: A Pilot Study on Situational Theft Prevention on the University Campus

NCJ Number
Crime Prevention and Community Safety Volume: 22 Dated: 2020 Pages: 33-48
William A. Chernoff
Date Published
16 pages

The authors discuss their research study to assess impacts of anti-theft strategies in university classrooms that focus on fortifying the objects being stolen, for example, through the use of labels indicating property ownership.


For the past three decades, property crime has been the single largest form of victimization reported to campus police and security. While prior research has focused extensively on improving security in high-theft areas around campus, surprisingly little attention has been paid to efforts at fortifying the targets of theft themselves. To address this gap, the present study employed a completely randomized experimental design testing the effect of an anti-theft strategy against a control strategy on property loss among 22 university classrooms. Compared to classrooms receiving property labeled with an anti-theft message, classrooms receiving property without such labels were significantly more likely to have their property removed. While these results are still in the pilot phase, the authors suggest that universities and colleges should identify their property, indicating to whom it belongs, if they wish to reduce property loss. Publisher Abstract Provided