Why does crime happen at certain places?

Why does crime happen at
certain places?
Charlotte Gill, Ph.D.
Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy,
Dept of Criminology, Law & Society,
Fairfax VA
Why does a crime happen?
Lack of supervision and guardianship
• Informal/human
– No structured activities
for youth
– Neighbors don’t look
out for each other
– No place managers
• Formal/mechanical
– Poor street lighting
– No/unmonitored CCTV
Low collective efficacy
• neighbors don’t trust
or look out for each
• people in transition
(moving in and out,
not connected to the
• easy to get in and
out quickly
Environment: Poor design
• Building design and
visibility problems
• Store layout (placement
of easy to steal items)
• Poor definition of space
(e.g. public vs. private
property; inside/outside
• Lack of access control
(e.g. gates, card access)
Environment: Policy violations
• Code violations
• Trash, graffiti, junk says
“nobody cares about
this place”
• Alcohol sales to minors
• Noise complaints
• Public transit policies
(e.g. bus/rail pass