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Malicious damage

In this section of the report, the findings are presented from a review of community-based crime prevention strategies that have as a primary goal a reduction in malicious damage. Following a brief review of the literature examining issues relating to the prevention of malicious damage, a summary of the evidence in support of intervention types reviewed by the research team, an explanation of how they work and the characteristics of successful strategies are outlined.

Preventing malicious damage

Malicious damage is broadly defined as the intentional ‘destruction or defacement of public, commercial and private property’ (Howard 2006: 1). Common forms of malicious damage include vandalism, such as breaking windows and knocking over letterboxes, and graffiti. Graffiti is the act of marking property with writing, symbols or graphics, and is illegal when committed without the property owner’s consent (White 2001). Types of graffiti include tagging, large and elaborate ‘pieces’, political graffiti and urban art. Notably, urban art is legal in certain contexts (Morgan & Louis 2009).

Crime statistics indicate that malicious damage is the most commonly reported criminal offence in New South Wales. In 2011, nearly 87,000 incidents of malicious damage were reported to the NSW Police (Goh & Moffat 2012). The rate of malicious damage to property incidents per 100,000 population has decreased in recent years (Goh & Moffat 2012). However, it is unclear what proportion of these incidents were graffiti related. Between 2001 and 2006, of the 591,321 incidents of malicious damage that were reported in New South Wales, eight percent were graffiti offences (Parliament of NSW 2008).

However, these figures are most likely an underestimation of the extent of malicious damage offending in New South Wales. Determining the prevalence of malicious damage offending in any given area is difficult as most offences are not reported to the police (Morgan & Louis 2009). Malicious damage is significantly underreported due to:

  • disincentives in insurance policies to report minor damages;
  • the perceived minor nature of malicious damage offences; and
  • the low expectation that victims have that the offender will be caught (Howard 2006; LaGrange 1999).
  • The last point appears to be supported by some evidence that suggests that there is a very low clear-up rate for malicious damages offences. In 2011 only 13.4 percent of reported incidents resulted in legal proceedings within 90 days of the offence (Goh & Moffat 2012).

Although generally perceived as a minor offence, the costs of malicious damage are estimated to be quite high at approximately $700 per offence (Howard 2006). Notably, the costs associated with these offences are usually incurred by private property owners, local and state governments and businesses (Morgan & Louis 2009). However, determining the true cost and frequency of malicious damage offences is difficult due to under-reporting and the absence of centralised record keeping protocols (Parliament of NSW 2008).

Apart from considerable monetary costs, graffiti and vandalism can undermine a community’s feeling of safety, reducing the quality of life of residents (Department for Transport 2003; Morgan & Louis 2009). Other evidence suggests that malicious damage offences may encourage further criminal acts through the process sometimes referred to as the ‘broken windows’ effect (LaGrange 1999). Further, the commission of a malicious damage act may involve some risk for the vandals themselves. There have been reports of graffitists being hurt or even killed while tagging in a dangerous location, such as a train yard (Keats 2008).

The understanding of the nature and extent of malicious damage offences is limited because the overwhelming majority of incidents are not witnessed. However, research has identified a number of common characteristics:

  • the majority of malicious damage incidents occur between 3 pm and midnight with a peak between 6 pm and 9 pm;
  • most offences occur between Friday and Sunday;
  • alcohol is an important contributing factor to many malicious damage offences;
  • regional areas experience higher rates of malicious damage offending;
  • the most common vandalism targets are residential properties, private cars and commercial premises;
  • residential properties and education facilities are frequently targeted by graffitists; and
  • young people are generally the main perpetrators of graffiti as well as other forms of malicious damage. The British Transport Police estimate that young people are responsible for 90 percent of railway vandalism, with a peak age of 17 years (Department of Transport 2003; Donnelly et al. 2006; Howard 2006).

Also, research conducted by LaGrange (1999) indicated that malicious damage offending rates are higher in areas characterised by:

  • high unemployment rates;
  • high percentage of ‘new’ residents (residents who have lived in the area for less than a year);
  • high percentage of vacant residences; and
  • high percentage of rental properties (LaGrange 1999).

The same study also found that the presence of a public high school and/or a shopping centre was a significant predictor of high malicious damage offending rates (LaGrange 1999). It was argued that shopping malls and high schools draw a large number of non-residents, in particular young people, into an area and this increase in traffic makes it difficult to distinguish between people who are there for legitimate purposes and those that are there for non-legitimate purposes (LaGrange 1999).

It appears that the majority of malicious damage offenders are opportunistic and this can be addressed through better design and planning (Geason & Wilson 1990a; Howard 2006). A selection of interventions that have been implemented at the local level to address malicious damage offending are described in Table 12. However, it should be noted that many of these have not been evaluated; therefore, their effectiveness in reducing malicious damage offending rates is unknown.

These interventions are situational crime prevention strategies, aiming to change the environment in which crime occurs to reduce opportunities for offending. However, research suggests that some malicious damage offences are not opportunistic—rather, they may be motivated by other factors such as the pleasure associated with risk-taking, the expression of ideas and creativity (in the case of graffiti) or feelings of boredom, frustration and disengagement (Morgan & Louis 2009). Changing the behaviour of these offenders may require a different response to that seen in Table 12. Strategies may focus on building the young person’s self-esteem, engaging them in positive activities and diverting them away from offending peer groups and negative activities (Geason & Wilson 1990a).

Table 12: Strategies to reduce malicious damage
Intervention Description

Polycarbonate laminates

Highly durable plastic microfilm that can be applied to smooth surfaces like glass. It protects surfaces from vandalism in two ways—first, it protects the original glass from etching and scratching; second, it reinforces the glass so it cannot be easily broken

Injection moulded seating

Seats that are covered with a material that is highly resistant to slashing and cigarette burns. Would typically be used in public transport seating

Anti-graffiti paint

Specially designed paints that allow for the easy removal of graffiti. They are widely used in Australia currently

Source: Howard 2006

Findings from the review

A comprehensive summary of the findings from a review of strategies designed to reduce malicious damage is presented in Table 13, which summarises the evidence for each intervention type identified by the review. Strategies examined as part of this review are described in Table 14.

Only a small number of strategies that aim to reduce malicious damage offending have been evaluated. Overall, the review only identified 11 studies that met the criteria for inclusion. Therefore, any conclusions made about the effectiveness of specific interventions and their impact on malicious damage should be interpreted with caution.

The reviewed interventions were either targeted at malicious damage (which is a category offence inclusive of graffiti) or graffiti by itself. Although the interventions used to prevent malicious damage more broadly and graffiti in isolation were typically the same, there were some differences that have been highlighted in the following discussion.

Interventions supported by evidence of effectiveness

Overall, the evidence in support of interventions that aim to prevent malicious damage is relatively weak, due to the small number of evaluations that have been completed and could be located (of the 11 studies, only 3 reached level three on the SMS). Nevertheless, several interventions were supported by a small number of evaluation studies finding evidence of effectiveness.

  • Strategies involving some form of CPTED (3 studies in total) all showed some evidence of effectiveness. Interventions typically involved making improvements to the general amenity of vandalism-prone public housing estates and public transport. All three were delivered alongside other measures, the most common being community patrols and/or police enforcement. One of the interventions only had a slight impact on offending rates.
  • Community patrols were an important component in four strategies, all of which showed some evidence of effectiveness. Interventions typically involved engaging local residents to perform patrols of high-crime areas, such as uninhabited residential estates, either as a volunteer or paid employee. A professional security guard detail was also used in one of the reviewed strategies.
    • Three of the reviewed interventions were delivered as part of a broader, multifaceted program, two of which appeared to be effective in reducing malicious damage offences while the other only had a slight impact. The most common supportive interventions were CPTED and police enforcement.
    • One of the reviewed strategies involved the implementation of a community patrol in isolation and appeared to be effective.
  • Access control measures were used in three of the reviewed strategies and all demonstrated evidence of effectiveness. The interventions typically involved the installation of improved security measures on behalf of residents, such as fencing and security doors. All three interventions were supported by other measures, the most common being police enforcement.
  • Three of the reviewed strategies involved upgrading or installing street lighting in crime-prone streets and/or areas. Two interventions were implemented as part of a multifaceted strategy and both demonstrated evidence of effectiveness. Common supportive interventions across the two strategies were police enforcement and CPTED. One intervention was implemented in isolation and only had a minor impact on malicious damage offending rates.
  • An education project was used in two of the reviewed strategies, both demonstrating evidence of effectiveness. Both interventions aimed to raise the target population’s awareness of the implications of their actions in either facilitating or committing malicious damage offences. Both educational projects were implemented as part of a broader, multifaceted scheme. A common supporting intervention across the two strategies was police enforcement.

Interventions with limited evidence of effectiveness

Two of the reviewed strategies involved the rapid removal of graffiti and both were implemented in isolation. One intervention appeared to have a modest impact on offending rates, while the evidence around the success of the other was inconclusive. Rapid removal shares characteristics with CPTED as they both involve improving the general amenity of an area with the aim of increasing community feelings of safety and pedestrian movement through the area, thereby providing more opportunities for natural surveillance. However, rapid removal also aims to reduce the rewards offenders associate with the commission of a graffiti offence. Further research into the impact of rapid removal as a graffiti prevention measure is required into order to determine whether it is an effective strategy.

Suitability for implementation by local government

The interventions identified in this section are, for the most part, suitable for implementation by local government. These interventions are consistent with the types of strategies that frequently appear in local crime prevention plans (Morgan & Homel 2011). As has already been identified, the implementation of access control measures, the installation of street lighting and use of CPTED in public spaces are all strategies that can be implemented by local government as part of their role in managing public space and building design. While none of the studies reviewed were from Australia, local councils have been responsible for the provision of private security patrols in local communities (through contracting security companies), although some of the locations targeted by graffiti offenders (such as shopping centres and public transport facilities) may be patrolled by security provided by other agencies or private companies.

Table 13: Evidence in support of crime prevention interventions targeting malicious damagea
Intervention Description of intervention Supported interventions Evidence of effectiveness Where it works How it worksb Characteristics of successful strategies

CPTED/urban renewal

CPTED projects include strategies that involve modifying the built and landscape environment to create safer places that are less crime prone or to make people feel safer, as well as strategies to improve the overall appearance of a residential area

Access control

Police enforcement

Community patrol

Diversionary activities

Lighting

Education-type project

Three strategies involved CPTED and all demonstrated evidence of effectiveness. All of the interventions were implemented as part of a multifaceted strategy

Residential neighbourhood where residents are amenable to the proposed changes

Manipulate the physical environment (built or landscape) to improve surveillance, define ownership of spaces and minimise conflict between users

Introduce of improve formal or informal surveillance to increase the perceived risk that committing an offence will result in identification and capture

A number of the effective strategies were delivered alongside other interventions, the most common being a community patrol

A number of the effective schemes encouraged the participation and engagement of the community during the early stages of the project

Rapid removal

Involves the rapid removal of graffiti, ideally within 24–48 hours of detection. Improves the general amenity of an area to make people feel safer and increase pedestrian movement. Also reduce the rewards offenders associate with the commission of a graffiti offence

n/a

Two of the reviewed strategies involved the rapid removal of graffiti. One was modestly effective, while the evidence around the other was unclear. Both were implemented in isolation

Areas where there are high rates of graffiti offending

Manipulate the physical environment (built or landscape) to improve surveillance, define ownership of spaces and minimise conflict between users

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

The strategy that demonstrated a modest degree of effectiveness conducted removal activities five days a week whereas the other only did this twice a week

Access control

Aims to increase the effort associated with committing an offence, usually through the alteration of the built environment or surroundings. Specifically, access control aims make it harder for potential offenders to enter a property or building by limiting its accessibility

Education-type project

Police enforcement

CPTED

Community patrol

Lighting

Diversionary activities

Rules and regulations for business

Access control measures were used in three of the reviewed strategies and all demonstrated evidence of effectiveness. All three of the interventions were supported by other strategies

Locations where there is an identified lack of security at access points

Communities where there is a high level of support for preventative measures and concern about vandalism and malicious damage

Increase the perceived effort or rewards associated with a crime by making targets harder to access, remove or dispose. Make target enclosures harder to penetrate to increase the perceived effort associated with a crime

Manipulate the physical environment (built or landscape) to improve surveillance, define ownership of spaces and minimise conflict between users

Appeared to be most effective when delivered in combination with a number of other interventions, the most common being police enforcement

The development and implementation of a number of the effective interventions was overseen by a committee comprising members of a number of different stakeholder groups. There were clear accountability mechanisms in place to ensure that interventions were delivered as promised and there was strong leadership from the project coordinator

Education-type project

An education-type program is any structured set of activities that aim to deliver information to the target group with a view to improving their skills or knowledge. Unlike awareness campaigns, education type projects rely on the active participation of the recipient. This can include community education and workshops, vocational education and training, professional development, strategies that aim to improve school performance and drug and alcohol education

Access control

Community patrol

Police enforcement

Rules and regulation for business

CPTED

Lighting

Of the two studies that included an education-type project, one demonstrated strong evidence of effectiveness, while the other only appeared to have a minor impact. Both were implemented as part of a multifaceted strategy

Commuters, patrons and service staff that are amenable to the training and information provision

Encourage individuals (potential targets or individuals who facilitate access to targets) to consider the implications of their actions and discourage behaviour that may create opportunities for crime to occur

Build a person’s resilience to offending by providing them with the resources, skills, knowledge and ability to avoid situations where their risk of offending might be increased

Interventions appeared to be more effective when delivered in conjunction with other interventions

The development and implementation of both interventions was overseen by a committee comprised of representatives from different stakeholder groups. There were clear accountability mechanisms in place to ensure that interventions were delivered as promised and there was strong leadership from the project coordinator

Community patrols

A community patrol is a group of people that actively patrol their community, reporting incidents and information to police, and in some instances provide a security service to help maintain social order. Engagement in a community patrol can be on a voluntary basis, or as a paid employee

CPTED

Police enforcement Support services

Arts’ development project

Access control

Lighting

Education-type project

Community patrols were used in four strategies, all of which showed some evidence of effectiveness. Three were delivered as part of a broader, multifaceted program and one was implemented in isolation

Residential areas where there are engaged and proactive participants, prepared to participate in community patrols and report incidents and information to police

Introduce or improve formal or informal surveillance to increase the perceived risk that committing an offence will result in identification or capture

Effective strategies typically involved engaged and proactive participants who were prepared to become actively involved in community patrols. In two of the strategies, practitioners targeted unemployed people who would be eager to participate

Lighting

Involves the placement or improvement of lighting to increase visibility in public spaces and thoroughfares

CPTED

Access control

Community patrol

Police enforcement

Education-type project

Diversionary activities

Three of the reviewed strategies involved upgrading or installing street lighting in crime-prone streets and/or areas. Two of the strategies appeared to be very effective in reducing malicious damage offences, whereas one only seemed to have a minor impact

Areas and streets that attract high rates of malicious damages offences

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing the offence

Manipulate the physical environment (built or landscape) to improve surveillance, define ownership of spaces and minimise conflict between users

Strategies appeared to be more effective when delivered alongside other interventions, in particular CPTED and police enforcement

The development and implementation of the effective interventions was overseen by a committee comprised of representatives from different stakeholder groups. There were clear accountability mechanisms in place to ensure that interventions were delivered as promised and there was strong leadership from the project coordinator

a: Limited to those interventions for which there was more than one evaluated strategy

b: Based on those mechanisms that were identified for effective strategies

Table 14 Crime prevention strategies targeting malicious damage
Source Context Intervention(s) Mechanism(s) Outcomes Research design

Mueller, Moore, Doggett and Tingstrom (2000)

Target crime—graffiti

Nature of problem—high concentration of gangs and graffiti.

Target group or beneficiary—local residents

Location—San Diego

Support services—chronic juvenile offenders provided with counselling

Community patrol—citizen volunteers monitored and cleaned graffiti-prone areas. Police coordinated a juvenile bicycle patrol to monitor the neighbourhood for graffiti

Police enforcement—increased police involvement in the probation of graffitists and enforcement of anti-graffiti laws

Arts development project—graffitists allowed to paint murals in designated areas.

Other—convicted juvenile offenders painted over graffiti as a condition of probation (penalty)

Encourage individuals (potential targets or individuals who facilitate access to targets) to consider the implications of their actions and discourage behaviour that may create opportunities for crime to occur

Build a person’s resilience to offending by providing them with the resources, skills, knowledge and ability to avoid situations in which their risk of offending might be increased

Introduce or improve formal or informal surveillance to increase the perceived risk that committing an offence will result in identification and capture

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—90 percent reduction in graffiti offences in the police division. Several chronic offenders who had received counselling stopped painting graffiti altogether. Counselling resulted in 30 percent of graffiti taggers involved in the program desisting

Evaluation focus—process and outcome

Evaluation design—pre-post

Research methods and source of data—administrative data

Level on SMS—2

Knight in Osborne (1994)

Target crime—assault, robbery, residential burglary and attempted residential burglary, theft and attempted theft, theft of motor vehicle, arson, malicious damage and breach of the peace

Nature of problem—unoccupied residences on Public housing estates are regularly vandalised and stripped of their copper and lead

Target group or beneficiaries—local residents

Target location—Possil Park, north central Glasgow

Community patrol—unemployed locals given work patrolling estates with empty residences

CPTED—estate repairs and improvements—painting, cleaning and decorating

Introduce or improve formal or informal surveillance to increase the perceived risk that committing an offence will result in identification or capture

Manipulate the physical environment (built or landscape) to improve surveillance, define ownership of spaces and minimise conflict between users

(Uncertain effect)

Intervention—property damage offences decreased from 252 in 1985 to 188 in 1987. However, by 1990 offence rates had risen to 313

Adjacent—27 percent increase in overall crime in 1987

Evaluation focus—process and outcome

Evaluation design—before–after, weak control

Research methods and source of data—police records

Level on SMS—2

Shaftoe (1994a)

Target crime—street robberies (muggings), theft from cars, burglaries, vandalism and damage.

Nature of problem—Easton and Ashley suffered from a higher than average rate of crime.

Target group or beneficiaries—local residents

Target location—Easton/Ashley, Bristol

Lighting—lighting improvements on streets that were identified by the police and the City’s lighting engineers as high priority

Manipulate the physical environment (built or landscape) to improve surveillance, define ownership of spaces and minimise conflict between users

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Uncertain effect)

Intervention 1—some reductions in crimes committed at night but could not be associated with the lighting improvements

Intervention 2—recorded crime level decreased by eight percent and night-time crime by 14 percent

Comparison—recorded crime levels decreased by nine percent and night-time crimes levels by 14 percent

Adjacent—reduction in crime rates in the police division as a whole

Evaluation focus—outcome evaluation

Evaluation design—before-after, control

Research methods and source of data—police records

Level on SMS—3

Musheno, Levine and Palumbo (1978)

Target crime—robbery, attempted robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, purse-snatching, residential burglary, attempted residential burglary

Nature of problem—significantly high residential victimisation rates

Target location—three buildings in Bronxdale Houses, a New York City public housing project. Area characterised by low-income tenants, high African American and Puerto Rican populations

CCTV—installation of CCTV equipment in high-risk areas such as lifts. Constant video stream broadcast onto televisions of residents

Encourage individuals (potential targets or individuals who facilitate access to targets) to consider the implications of their actions and discourage behaviour that may create opportunities for crime to occur

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Undesirable effect)

Intervention—increase in observed incidences of vandalism. Increased from 50 during pre-intervention period, 57 during post-intervention period

Comparison—slight increase in vandalism offences. Increased from 46 during the pre-intervention period to 52during the post-intervention period

Evaluation focus—outcome

Evaluation design—pre-post, control

Research methods and source of data—resident surveys and interviews

Level on SMS—3

Rumbold et al. (1998)

Geelong Local Industry Accord

Target crime—alcohol-related assault (primary), underage drinking, and property damage

Nature of problem—escalating rates of violent crime in and around licensed establishments

Target group or beneficiaries—patrons and service staff

Target location—Geelong, Vic

Education-type project—servers and management provided with information about safe alcohol service standards

Police enforcement—stricter enforcement of liquor licensing and sale of alcohol to underage patrons

Access control—patrons denied access to bars/pubs after certain times

Rules and regulations for business—established a code of practice for licensees, endorsed by key project stakeholders, with particular focus on refusing service to intoxicated patron, underage drinking, drink promotions and pub-hopping

Encourage individuals (potential targets or individuals who facilitate access to targets) to consider the implications of their actions and discourage behaviour that may create opportunities for crime to occur

Prevent potential offenders from being able to access locations where there are potential targets (property or people) or where provocation may occur

Introduce or improve formal or informal surveillance to increase the perceived risk that committing an offence will result in identification or capture

Prevent offenders from being able to access the resources they need in order to commit an offence or that might be used as an excuse

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—65 percent of surveyed licensees and nominees said that property damage offending rates had decreased

Evaluation focus—process and outcome

Evaluation design—before–after, control

Research methods and source of data—police records, interviews, surveys, observations and administrative data

Level on SMS—3

Crime Research Centre, University of Western Australia (2008)

Eyes on the Street Program

Target crime—residential burglary, theft, vandalism, vehicle theft and assault

Nature of problem—high rates of residential burglary rates in the South East Metropolitan Police District

Target location—metropolitan Western Australia

Natural surveillance—people in the community were encouraged to keep an eye out and report any suspicious incidents

Awareness campaign—community awareness of program elevated through media campaign and easily recognisable insignia

Introduce or improve formal or informal surveillance to increase the perceived risk that committing an offence will result in identification or capture

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Uncertain effect)

Intervention—property offences decreased, but this trend was present prior to program introduction

Evaluation focus—process and outcome

Evaluation design—before–after

Research methods and source of data—stakeholder interviews, administrative data (crime statistics and reports submitted by EOTS participants)

Level on SMS—2

van Andel (1989)

Target crime—fare dodging, vandalism and aggression

Nature of problem—significant number of petty offences against property and other forms of minor vandalism on Dutch public transport

Target group or beneficiaries—public transport commuters

Target location—Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague, Netherlands

Community patrol—1,200 young people were employed to increase the level of inspection, safety, information and control on the tram and bus system

Introduce or improve formal or informal surveillance to increase the perceived risk that committing an offence will result in identification or capture

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Desirable effect)

Amsterdam—a slight reduction in repair costs

Rotterdam—minimal reduction in repair costs. No reduction in frequency of damage and graffiti in buses and trams. Amount of graffiti on external walls in metro stations unchanged but the amount inside the stations fell by 30 percent. Decline in the number of broken windows in metro stations

Hague—minimal reduction in repair costs

Evaluation focus—process and outcome

Evaluation design—before–after

Research methods and source of data—quantitative and qualitative. Interviews with stakeholders, administrative data (crime statistics and interviews with commuters, public transport staff)

Level on SMS—2

Sloan-Howitt and Kelling (1992)

Target crime—graffiti

Nature of problem—persistent problem of graffiti on NY subway system

Target group or beneficiary—New York commuters

Location—New York City subway

CPTED—onsite train carriage cleaning activities

Access control—improved security measures in the yard and lay-up areas. Fences checked daily and mended within 24 hours if damaged

Community patrol—increased presence of security guards in the yard

Lighting—lighting improvement in the yard

Police enforcement—police introduced undercover patrols and increased presence on trains. Concentrated their efforts on times and locations when students tended to ride trains. Undercover officers were placed on especially difficult lines

Education type project—development of a program to educate high school students and youths in general about the effects of graffiti

Introduce or improve formal or informal surveillance to increase the perceived risk that committing an offence will result in identification or capture

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

Prevent potential offenders from being able to access locations in which there are potential targets (property or people) or where provocation may occur

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—by 1989, trains were free of graffiti

Evaluation focus—process and outcome

Evaluation design—before–after

Research methods and source of data—quantitative and qualitative. Interviews with stakeholders, administrative data

Level on SMS—2

NSW Department of Justice Attorney General (2009)

Target crime—graffiti

Nature of problem—significant increase in the number of graffiti offences recorded by the NSW Police over the last decade

Target group or beneficiaries—local residents

Target location—Cronulla Plaza, New South Wales. Pedestrian plaza and road lined by businesses

Rapid removal—graffiti removed within 24hours of detection. Rapid removal program was already in place for removing graffiti from council property, extended to include residential and business properties. Removal was conducted twice a week

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Uncertain effect)

Intervention—number of graffiti offences increased from 89 to 150 incidents per month during post-intervention period

Reported that intervention site was more graffiti free (in relation to both size and visibility) than the control site. The Council determined the intervention to have been a success

Comparison—number of incidents increased from 80 to 122 per month during the post-intervention period

Evaluation focus—outcome

Evaluation design—before–after, some control

Research methods and source of data—council records

Level on SMS—3

NSW Department of Justice Attorney General (2009)

Target crime—graffiti

Nature of problem—persistent, high rates of graffiti offences over the last five years

Target group or beneficiaries—local residents

Target location—Five Dock Park, New South Wales. Busy recreational park with a skate ramp and war memorial.

Rapid removal—intervention site was subject to daily inspections and same or next day graffiti-removal. Removal was conducted five days a week (Mon–Fri)

Increase an offender’s perceived risk of crime, the perceived effort of crime or reduce the anticipated rewards of crime to discourage them from committing an offence

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—slight decrease in recorded graffiti offences. Number of graffiti offences decreased from 11 to seven per month during the post-intervention period

Despite this albeit modest decrease, the Council did not consider the intervention to be effective

Evaluation focus—outcome

Evaluation design—before–after

Research methods and source of data—police records

Level on SMS—2

Bozkurt in Osborn (1994)

Target crime—residential burglary, assault, criminal damage, theft from auto, auto theft

Nature of problem—high crime rates on public housing estates

Target location—Golf Links Housing Estate in London. Estate characterised by high crime rates, large ethnic minority population, high rates of unemployment, transitory residential population

Access control—installation of better security doors

Street lighting—improved lighting

CPTED—repairs and ‘beautification’ of the estate

Police enforcement—local police dedicated more time to patrolling the estate and a police officer was set up in one of the blocks to establish a permanent presence

Diversionary activities—provision of afterschool and weekend activities for kids

Manipulate the physical environment (built or landscape) to improve surveillance, define ownership of spaces and minimise conflict between users

Introduce or improve formal or informal surveillance to increase the perceived risk that committing an offence will result in identification or capture

Increase the perceived effort or rewards associated with a crime by making targets harder to access, remove or dispose

Prevent potential offenders from being able to access locations in which there are potential targets (property or people) or where provocation may occur

(Desirable effect)

Intervention—71 percent decrease in criminal damage offences between 1983 and 1990

Evaluation focus—process and outcome

Evaluation design—before–after

Research methods and source of data—police records

Level on SMS—2