Household- and Area-Level Differences in Burglary Risk and Security Availability over Time

  • Andromachi TseloniEmail author
  • Rebecca Thompson


This chapter is based upon findings from a project which sought to establish which burglary security devices work for whom and in what context. A large body of previous research suggests that crime risk and vulnerability vary across individuals, households and areas. From this, we can assume that anti-burglary security devices may not exert the same protective effect for all households in all areas. Certain households may also be less likely to have anti-burglary devices installed at all. This chapter investigates how household and area differences may explain unequal burglary risks and security availability. It examines the relationship between burglary risk and the availability of the most effective security device combination ‘on a budget’ – window locks, internal lights on a timer, double door locks and external lights on a sensor (WIDE) – across population groups of different ethnicities, household composition, tenure, income, number of cars, and type of area of residence from 1993 to 2011/2012. It thus provides context to the security hypothesis for the crime drop using burglary in England and Wales as a case study.


Burglary protection trends Domestic burglary trends Socio-economic factors Unequal security availability Uneven crime drop Victimisation divides 



Crime Survey for England and Wales


Department for Work and Pensions


Familiarity, Accessibility, Visibility, Occupancy, Rewards


Houses in multiple occupation


Household Reference Person


Office for National Statistics


Reference household


Window and door locks


Window locks, door locks and security chains


Window locks, door locks, security chains and CCTV cameras


External lights on a sensor, window and door locks


Window locks, internal lights on a timer, double door locks and external lights on a sensor



The authors are grateful to Dr. James Hunter and Professor Nick Tilley for insightful comments. Any errors are the authors’ responsibility.


  1. Armitage, R., & Monchuk, L. (2011). Sustaining the crime reduction impact of designing out crime: Re-evaluating the secured by design scheme 10 years on. Security Journal, 24, 320–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bernasco, W. (2009). Burglary. In M. Tonry (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of crime and public policy (pp. 165–190). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Budd, T. (1999). Burglary of Domestic Dwellings: Findings from the British Crime Survey (Home Office Statistical Bulletin 4/99). London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  4. Clarke, R. V. (2012). Opportunity makes the thief. Really? So what? Crime Science, 1(3), 1–9.Google Scholar
  5. Cohen, L. E., & Felson, M. (1979). Social change and crime rates trends: A routine activity approach. American Sociological Review, 44, 588–608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). (2017). Households below average income: An analysis of the UK income distribution: 1994/95-2015/16. Published 16 March 2017. Accessed 29 Jan 2018.
  7. Ellingworth, D., Hope, T., Osborn, D. R., Trickett, A., & Pease, K. (1997). Prior victimization and crime risk. International Journal of Risk, Security and Crime Prevention, 2, 201–214.Google Scholar
  8. Farrell, G., Tseloni, A., Mailley, J., & Tilley, N. (2011). The crime drop and the security hypothesis. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 48(2), 147–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Farrell, G., Tilley, N., Tseloni, A. (2014). Why the crime drop? Why crime rates fall and why they don’t, Crime and Justice-A Review of Research, 43, 421–490. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Farrell, G. (2015). Crime concentration theory. Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 17(4), 233–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Farrell, G., & Brown, R. (2016). On the origins of the crime drop: Vehicle crime and security in the 1980s. Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 55(1–2), 226–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Farrell, G., Laycock, G., & Tilley, N. (2015). Debuts and legacies: The crime drop and the role of adolescent-limited and persistent offending. Crime Science, 4, 16. Scholar
  13. Felson, M. (2002). Crime and everyday life. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.Google Scholar
  14. Ginsburg, N. (2005). The privatization of council housing. Critical Social Policy, 25(1), 115–135. Scholar
  15. Gottfredson, M. R. (1981). On the etiology of criminal victimisation. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 72, 714–726.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Green, W. H. (1997). Econometric analysis. London: Prentice Hall International.Google Scholar
  17. Hales, J., & Stratford, N. (1997). 1996 British Crime Survey (England and Wales) technical report. London: Social and Community Planning Research.Google Scholar
  18. Hales, J., & Stratford, N. (1999). 1998 British Crime Survey technical report. London: Social and Community Planning Research.Google Scholar
  19. Higgins, A., & Jarman, R. (2015). Safe as houses? Crime and changing tenure patterns. The Police Foundation: Police Effectiveness in a Changing World Project.Google Scholar
  20. Hunter, J., & Tseloni, A. (2016). Equity, justice and the crime drop: The case of burglary in England and Wales. Crime Science, 5(3).
  21. Ignatans, D., & Pease, K. (2015). Distributive justice and the crime drop. In M. Andresen & G. Farrell (Eds.), The criminal act: Festschrift for Marcus Felson (pp. 77–87). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ignatans, D., & Pease, K. (2016). On whom does the burden of crime fall now? Changes over time in counts and concentration. International Review of Victimology, 22(1), 55–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Johnson, S. J. (2014). How do offenders choose where to offend? Perspectives from animal foraging. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 19, 193. Scholar
  24. Johnston, J. (1984). Econometrics methods (3rd ed.). London: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  25. Kennedy, L. W., & Forde, D. R. (1990). Routine activities and crime: An analysis of victimisation in Canada. Criminology, 28, 137–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kershaw, C., & Tseloni, A. (2005). Predicting crime rates, fear and disorder based on area information: Evidence from the 2000 British Crime Survey. International Review of Victimology, 12, 295–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lee, Y., Eck, J. E., S, O., & Martinez, N. N. (2017). How concentrated is crime at places? A systematic review from 1970 to 2015. Crime Science, 6(6), 1–16.Google Scholar
  28. Lewakowski, B. (2012). Half-locked?: Assessing the distribution of household safety protection in Stockholm. Student thesis. KTH Architecture and the Built Environment, Department of Urban Planning and Environment. Accessed 23 Feb 2018.
  29. Long, S. J. (1997). Regression models for categorical and limited dependent variables, Advanced quantitative techniques in the social sciences series (Vol. 7). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  30. Lucy, W., Gilbert, D., & Birkhead, D. (1977). Equity in local service distribution. Public Administration Review, 37(6), 687–697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Metro. (2017). Why you should be worried if you get a call from a ‘wrong number’. By Ashitha Nagesh. Accessed 10 Jan 2018.
  32. Mooney, G., & Jan, S. (1997). Vertical equity: Weighting outcomes? Or establishing procedures? Health Policy, 39(1), 79–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nilsson, A., Estrada, F., & Bäckman, O. (2017). The unequal crime drop: Changes over time in the distribution of crime among individuals from different socioeconomic backgrounds. European Journal of Criminology, 14(5), 586–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nottinghamshire Police. (2013). Security Standards of HMO & Rented Properties: Minimum security specifications from Nottinghamshire Police’s Pre Crime Unit in partnership with Nottingham City Council Environmental Health Department. Accessed 11 Jan 2018.
  35. O, S., Martinez, N. N., Lee, Y., & Eck, J. E. (2017). How concentrated is crime among victims? A systematic review from 1977 to 2014. Crime Science, 6(9), 1–16.Google Scholar
  36. Office for National Statistics (ONS) (2012). Ethnicity and national identity in England and Wales: 2011. Accessed 6 Nov 2018.
  37. Official Statistics. (2013). 2011 Rural urban classification. Gov.UK. Accessed 24 Jan 2018.
  38. ONS (Office for National Statistics). (2017a). Crime in England and Wales: Year ending Dec 2016. Statistical bulletin. 27 April. Accessed 4 May 2017.
  39. ONS (Office for National Statistics). (2017b). Statistical bulletin: Nowcasting household income in the UK: Financial year ending 2017. Release date 28 July 2017. Accessed 13 Feb 2018.
  40. ONS (Office for National Statistics). (2018). Statistical bulletin: Household disposable income and inequality in the UK: Financial year ending 2017. Release date 10 January 2018. Accessed 5 Feb 2018.
  41. Osborn, D. R., & Tseloni, A. (1998). The distribution of household property crimes. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 14, 307–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pateman, T. (2011). Rural and urban areas: Comparing lives using rural/urban classifications. Regional Trends, 43(1), 11–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rasbash, J., Charlton, C., Browne, W.J., Healy, M., Cameron, B. (2009). MLwiN Version 2.10. Centre for Multilevel Modelling, University of Bristol.Google Scholar
  44. Rasbash, J., Steele, F., Browne, W., Goldstein, H. (2017). A user’s guide to MlwiN version 3.01. Centre for Multilevel Modelling, University of Bristol.Google Scholar
  45. Rawls, J. (1999). A theory of justice (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Rountree, P. W., & Land, K. C. (1996). Burglary victimisation, perceptions of crime risk, and routine activities: A multilevel analysis across Seattle neighbourhoods and census tracts. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 33, 147–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Shaw, C. R., & McKay, H. D. (1942). Juvenile delinquency and urban areas. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Sherman, L. W., Gartin, P. R., & Buerger, M. E. (1989). Hot spots of predatory crime: Routine activities and the criminology of place. Criminology, 27(1), 27–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Skudder, H., Brunton-Smith, I., Tseloni, A., McInnes, A., Cole, J., Thompson, R., & Druckman, A. (2017). Can burglary prevention be low carbon and effective? Investigating the environmental performance of burglary prevention measures. Security Journal, 31, 111. Scholar
  50. Snijders, T. A. B., & Bosker, R. J. (1999). Multilevel analysis: An introduction to basic and advanced multilevel modelling. London: SAGE.Google Scholar
  51. The Guardian. (2012). The great Asian gold theft crisis. Crime. By Emine Saner. Accessed 10 Jan 2018.
  52. The Guardian. (2017). Look at Grenfell and recall when social housing was beloved. Opinion. By Deborah Orr. Accessed 12 Jan 2018.
  53. Tilley, N. (2012). Community, security and distributive justice. In V. Ceccato (Ed.), The urban fabric of crime and fear (pp. 267–282). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  54. Tilley, N., & Tseloni, A. (2016). Choosing and using statistical sources in criminology – What can the Crime Survey for England and Wales tell us? Legal Information Management, 16(2), 78–90. Scholar
  55. Tilley, N., Tseloni, A., & Farrell, G. (2011). Income – Disparities of burglary risk and security availability over time. British Journal of Criminology, 51(2), 296–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Tilley, N., Farrell, G., & Clarke, R. V. (2015). Target suitability and the crime drop. In M. A. Andresen & G. Farrell (Eds.), The criminal act: The role and influence of routine activities theory (pp. 59–76). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Trickett, A., Osborn, D. R., Seymour, J., & Pease, K. (1992). What is different about high crime areas? British Journal of Criminology, 32, 81–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Tseloni, A. (1995). The modelling of threat incidence: Evidence from the British crime survey. In R. E. Dobash, R. P. Dobash, & L. Noaks (Eds.), Gender and crime (pp. 269–294). Cardiff: University of Wales Press.Google Scholar
  59. Tseloni, A. (2006). Multilevel modelling of the number of property crimes: Household and area effects. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A-Statistics in Society, 169(Part 2), 205–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tseloni, A. (2011). Household burglary victimisation and protection measures: Who can afford security against burglary and in what context does it matter? Crime Surveys Users Meeting, Royal Statistical Society, London. 13 December. Available online:
  61. Tseloni, A. (2014). Understanding victimization frequency. Chapter 127. In G. Bruinsma & D. Weisburd (Editors in Chief), Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice (ECCJ) (pp. 5370–5382). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  62. Tseloni, A., & Pease, K. (2004). Repeat personal victimisation: Random effects, event dependence and unexplained heterogeneity. British Journal of Criminology, 44, 931–945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Tseloni, A., & Pease, K. (2005). Population inequality: The case of repeat victimisation. International Review of Victimology, 12, 75–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Tseloni, A., & Pease, K. (2015). Area and individual differences in personal crime victimisation incidence: The role of individual, lifestyle /routine activities and contextual predictors. International Review of Victimology, 21(1), 3–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Tseloni, A., & Pease, K. (2017). So, were you surprised by the BBC/ONS crime risk calculator? Significance online London: The Royal Statistical Society.
  66. Tseloni, A., & Thompson, R. (2015). Securing the premises. Significance, 12(1), 32–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Tseloni, A., & Zarafonitou, C. (2008). Fear of crime and victimisation: A multivariate multilevel analysis of competing measurements. European Journal of Criminology, 5(4), 387–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Tseloni, A., Osborn, D. R., Trickett, A., & Pease, K. (2002). Modelling property crime using the British Crime Survey: What have we learned? British Journal of Criminology, 42, 89–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Tseloni, A., Wittebrood, K., Farrell, G., & Pease, K. (2004). Burglary victimisation in the U.S., England and Wales, and the Netherlands: Cross-national comparison of routine activity patterns. British Journal of Criminology, 44, 66–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Tseloni, A., Mailley, J., Farrell, G., & Tilley, N. (2010). The cross-national crime and repeat victimization trend for main crime categories: Multilevel modelling of the international crime victims survey. European Journal of Criminology, 7(5), 375–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Tseloni, A., Thompson, R., Grove, L., Tilley, N., & Farrell, G. (2014). The effectiveness of burglary security devices. Security Journal, 30(2), 646–664. Scholar
  72. Tseloni, A., Farrell, G., Thompson, R., Evans, E., & Tilley, N. (2017). Domestic burglary drop and the security hypothesis. Crime Science., 6(3). Open Access.
  73. Tunstall, R. (2011). Social housing and social exclusion 2000-2011. Discussion paper series (CASEpapers), CASE/153, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion July 2011 London School of Economics. Accessed 29 Jan 2018.
  74. Van Dijk, J., & Vollaard, B. (2012). Self-limiting crime waves. In J. van Dijk, A. Tseloni, & G. Farrell (Eds.), The international crime drop: New directions in research (pp. 250–267). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Vollaard, B., & van Ours, J. C. (2011). Does regulation of built-in security reduce crime? Evidence from a natural experiment. The Economic Journal, 121, 485–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Weisburd, D. (2015). The law of crime concentration and the criminology of place. Criminology, 27(1), 27–56.Google Scholar
  77. Wilcox, P., Lamd, K. C., & Hunt, S. A. (2003). Criminal circumstance: A dynamic multicontextual criminal opportunity theory. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  78. Wilcox, P., Madensen, T. D., & Tillyer, M. S. (2007). Guardianship in context: Implications for burglary victimisation risk and prevention. Criminology, 45(4), 771–803.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wiles, P., & Costello, A. (2000). The ‘road to nowhere’: The evidence for travelling criminals. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  80. Wilson, W., & Barton, C. (2017). Allocating social housing (England). Briefing paper number 06397, 9 June 2017. London House of Commons Library.Google Scholar
  81. Winchester, S., & Jackson, H. (1982). Residential burglary: The limits of prevention. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  82. Wolfgang, M. E., Figlio, R. M., & Sellin, T. (1972). Delinquency in a birth cohort. London: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Quantitative and Spatial Criminology, School of Social SciencesNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK

Personalised recommendations