Security Journal

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 501–523 | Cite as

Spatial and temporal analysis of crude oil theft in the Niger delta

  • Tahir Ngada
  • Kate Bowers
Original Article


This research sought to investigate patterns and correlates of the under-researched crime of crude oil theft (COT) in the context of the Niger Delta. The aim was to examine the feasibility of opportunity-, deprivation- and market-value-based explanations for COT patterns. A total of 1039 incidents of COT recorded by the Nigerian Oil Producers’ Trade Section during 2012–2014 were analysed. The results indicate that even when controlling for clustering of the oil pipeline infrastructure, spatial clustering of COT was statistically significant indicating manipulation of vulnerable situational contexts. No significant correlation was found between COT and the local unemployment or poverty rate. Finally, there was a moderate, significant positive temporal association between the volume of crude oil stolen and the international market price. The findings provide evidence that COTs are likely perpetrated by rationally motivated offenders and suggest that situational crime-prevention and market-reduction approaches show promise in proactively curtailing criminal opportunities.


Crude oil theft Spatial clustering Hot products Situational prevention Market-reduction approaches 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Security and Crime ScienceUniversity College London UCLLondonUK

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