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Crime victims and the prevention of residential burglary: report of the ACT Burglary Victims Response Project 2004

Robyn Holder, Toni Makkai and Jason Payne

February 2004

Abstract

This report describes the ACT Burglary Victims Response Project 2004, a project designed to reduce repeat victimisation of residential burglary victims in the A.C.T. In the early phases of the project, it was proposed that burglary victims in A.C.T. suburbs that experienced higher rates of burglary would be invited to avail themselves of a free home security assessment. For a variety of reasons few victims chose to use this service, and the report presents findings from a subsequent survey of burglary victims which indicate that burglary victims exhibit resilience in response to the burglary experience, and are largely proactive, practical and competent crime prevention actors. Findings from the survey are summarised in terms of the characteristics of residential burglary in the A.C.T., including the incidence of repeat victimisation; crime prevention strategies adopted by burglary victims; victim satisfaction with police responses to residential burglary; attitudes to victims of crime services; and attitudes to the sentencing of offenders. The analysis finds that victims of residential burglary exhibit rational choices of crime prevention strategies in a manner similar to the rational choices exhibited by offenders in their selection of targets. The findings indicate that victims of crime are natural constituents of, and should be involved in, burglary reduction strategies. The policy and practice implications of this report support the findings from an evaluation of two national demonstration burglary prevention projects in Queensland and South Australia. The report concludes with recommendations that should be considered by the A.C.T. Government as being integral to a coordinated response to reducing burglary and its impact in the A.C.T. (Executive summary, edited).