Space-Time Analysis of Auto Burglary Patterns in a Fast-Growing Small City

Space-Time Analysis of Auto Burglary Patterns in a Fast-Growing Small City

Ling Wu (Zhongnan University of Economics & Law, China), Xinyue Ye (Center for Regional Development & School of Earth, Environment and Society, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, USA) and David Webb (Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas, Huntsville, TX, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/jagr.2012100104
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Auto burglary is a rising concern for small cities that rely so highly on revenues from malls and shopping. The fear of auto burglary dispels possible business partners, shoppers, and workers. This piece of research was conducted in Shenandoah, a small city near Houston, Texas. Shenandoah has been experiencing a fast-growing economy and annexation process. The research highlights the potency of space-time analysis for the local police department. The paper describes the temporal trends of auto burglary offenses. Hot spots of auto burglary offenses in different time periods are identified, which provide a clue for police to prioritize limited resources. In addition, this project analyzes the repeatability of auto burglary incidents in the same locations. The space-time analysis reveals that, once an auto burglary incident occurred, one week is the optimal time period for police to actively patrol, or adopt other preventive strategies on the same location to deter the potential follow-up auto burglaries.
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Background Of Auto Burglary

Auto theft is defined as a person entering a vehicle with the intent to steal cars or items from cars. In other words, it include two types of offenses: the thefts of cars and burglary of cars (theft from cars), which involves a person entering a vehicle without the consent of the owner of said vehicle but for the purpose of stealing property, not the vehicle itself. Thefts of cars include thefts for joyriding, for prolonged car use, and for export with or without disassembling. Auto burglaries include thefts of personal items left in cars and thefts of interior or external components of cars. Different types of offenses are committed by various groups of offenders with diverse motivations (Clarke, 2002).

Federal governments have made long-term efforts to fight against auto burglary. Federal antitheft legislation criminalized interstate transportation of stolen vehicles in 1919, toughened penalties for violations of export laws and penalized the counterfeiting of car title certificates in 1984, required major vehicles parts to be inscribed with vehicle identification numbers (VIN) in 1985, criminalized carjacking in 1992, and established the tracing system among car repair shops, states, and customs based on FBI’s VIN database in 1994.

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