U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Ecological and Behavioral Influences on Property Victimization at Home: Implications for Opportunity Theory

NCJ Number
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 29 Issue: 3 Dated: (August 1992) Pages: 335-362
Date Published
28 pages
Information from the National Crime Survey and the Victim Risk Supplement in 1984 was used to test criminal opportunity theories of victimization for the crimes of burglary and household larceny.
The test included direct behavioral and ecological measures of concepts central to the theory. Ecological concepts were measured at several different levels of aggregation. Of particular importance was the introduction of a control for the dangerousness of the block in which the housing unit was located. Others included the environmental design of the housing unit, the degree of social disorganization in the neighborhood, the location of commercial establishments in the neighborhood, and the perceived dangerousness of the neighborhood. Measures of crucial behavioral concepts included the time spent in the house during the day and the time spent in the house during the evening. Results revealed that none of the environmental design variables had a significant effect on victimization. In addition, some elements of opportunity are a function of neighborhood, while others are a function of blocks. Results also contributed to a growing literature that finds no effect of security measures on the risk of burglary. The significance of the other ecological and behavioral measures differed by type of crime, indicating the need for separate models for burglary and household larceny. Several measurement problems limited this analysis and should be addressed in future research. Tables, notes, and 39 references

Date Published: January 1, 1992