Just Sociology

Exploring Factors Behind the Decrease in Property Crime in England and Wales

The decrease in crime rate has been a topic of interest for many researchers in England and Wales. There have been notable reductions in property crimes since 1995, and this has been attributed to several reasons.

This article highlights the theories and evidence that identify potential reasons for the decrease in property crime. Additionally, the article explores the theories that support the rational choice theory, which explains how people make decisions that lead to criminal or non-criminal behavior.

Relative Decrease in Property Crime since 1995

Over the years, there has been a significant reduction in property crimes such as theft and burglary in England and Wales. The decrease has been surprising, considering the increase in the number of people, buildings, and vehicles.

One of the reasons for the decrease in property crimes is the increased use of the internet. The internet has enabled consumers to buy and sell products, reducing the need for physical interactions that can lead to theft.

Additionally, technology has made it easier to track stolen products, reducing the market for stolen goods. Another reason for the decrease in property crime is the reduced consumption of drugs and alcohol.

According to research by the Home Office, acquisitive crime, such as burglary and theft, is influenced by drug and alcohol addiction. Reductions in drug and alcohol addiction have, therefore, contributed to the decrease in property crime in England and Wales.

The improvement in forensic techniques, including fingerprinting and DNA testing, has also led to a decrease in property crime. The introduction of these techniques has increased the perceived risk of getting caught, thus deterring criminals from committing crimes.

Levitt et al. (2004), point out that advancements in technology have led to more effective crime scene investigations, increasing the chances of apprehending criminals.

Another reason for the decrease in property crime is the introduction of legalized abortion. Donohue and Levitt (2001), posit that legalized abortion led to a decrease in crime rate.

Women who would otherwise have been forced to raise children in impoverished or troubled environments were allowed to make the decision to abort. The fewer unwanted children, the lower the number of individuals growing up with high-crime risk factors.

Changes in technology and infrastructure have also contributed to a decrease in property crime. The increased use of situational crime prevention, such as CCTV cameras, has helped deter potential criminals.

Vandals or thieves are less likely to damage or steal from buildings or vehicles under surveillance. The deterrent effect of the program has contributed to a decrease in property crimes.

Finally, longer prison sentences have contributed to a decrease in property crime. Longer prison sentences have made potential criminals evaluate the consequences of their actions.

Additionally, longer prison sentences have allowed law enforcement officers to monitor criminals more effectively, contributing to a decrease in crime. Theories/ Evidence Identifying Reasons for Decrease in Property Crime

Several theories support the decrease in property crime.

According to the target-hardening theory, improving the quality of building and vehicle security, including the use of alarms, window locks, and light sensors, can deter criminals. The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) indicates that the increase in household security measures has reduced burglary incidents.

Additionally, the routine activity theory posits that a reduction in the number of potential offenders, motivated offenders, and suitable targets can reduce crime. The reduction in potential offenders and motivated offenders is linked to changes in social factors, including the reduction in drug and alcohol addiction.

Finally, the social disorganization theory posits that poverty and income inequality contribute to crime. Reductions in income inequality and poverty can, therefore, contribute to the decrease in property crime.

The introduction and implementation of policies that address income inequality can lead to a reduction in property crime.

Increased Use of Internet

The increased use of the internet has led to a rise in online crimes, especially among the youth. Crimes such as cyberbullying, identity theft, and harassment have increased due to the anonymity and ease of use of the internet.

However, the internet has also contributed to the reduction of property crimes, as discussed earlier.

Reduced Consumption of Drugs and Alcohol

The reduction in drug and alcohol consumption has been linked to a reduction in property crimes. According to the Home Office, research indicates that acquisitive crime, such as burglary and theft, is influenced by drug and alcohol addiction.

Thus, a reduction in drug and alcohol addiction can lead to a reduction in property crimes.

Improvements in Forensic and Other Crime Scene Investigation Techniques and Record Keeping

The improvement in forensic techniques, including fingerprinting and DNA testing, has led to the increase in the perceived risk of getting caught, thus deterring criminals from committing crimes. Additionally, advancements in technology have led to more effective crime scene investigations, increasing the chances of apprehending criminals.

of Legalized Abortion

Donohue and Levitt posit that legalized abortion has led to a decrease in crime rates by reducing the number of unwanted children. Women who would otherwise have been forced to raise children in impoverished or troubled environments were given the option of aborting, reducing the high-crime risk factors associated with children raised in such environments.

Changes in Technology and Infrastructure

Changes in technology and infrastructure, such as the installation of CCTV cameras and other situational crime prevention measures, have contributed to reducing crime rates. The deterrent effect has led to a decrease in property crimes.

Longer Prison Sentences

Longer prison sentences have contributed to a decrease in property crime by making potential criminals evaluate the consequences of their actions. Additionally, longer prison sentences have allowed law enforcement officers to monitor criminals more effectively, contributing to a decrease in crime.

Increased Quality of Building and Vehicle Security

Improved quality of building and vehicle security, including the use of alarms, window locks, and light sensors, can deter criminals, contributing to a reduction in property crimes. Conclusion:

In conclusion, the decrease in crime rates in England and Wales can be attributed to several reasons, including the increased use of the internet, reduced consumption of drugs and alcohol, improvements in forensic and other crime scene investigation techniques, introduction of legalized abortion, changes in technology and infrastructure, longer prison sentences, and an increase in the quality of building and vehicle security.

The theories supporting the rational choice theory allow us to understand how people make decisions that lead to criminal or non-criminal behavior. It is crucial that policymakers use this information to develop policies that can contribute to the reduction of crime rates further.

In conclusion, the decrease in crime rates in England and Wales can be attributed to various factors, including changes in technology and infrastructure, improvements in forensic techniques and record keeping, the introduction of legalized abortion, the reduction in drug and alcohol consumption, longer prison sentences, and an increase in the quality of building and vehicle security. The availability of theories supporting the rational choice theory helps us understand how individuals make criminal or non-criminal decisions.

These findings are essential for policymakers in developing effective crime prevention and reduction policies.

FAQs:

1.

What is the primary contributor to the decrease in property crimes in England and Wales? Ans: The primary contributor is the increased use of the internet, reducing the need for physical interactions that can lead to theft, among others.

2. Has the reduction in drug and alcohol consumption led to a decrease in property crime?

Ans: Yes, according to research by the Home Office, acquisitive crimes such as burglary and theft are influenced by drug and alcohol addiction. 3.

How have improvements in forensic techniques contributed to the decrease in property crime? Ans: The improvements in forensic techniques, including fingerprinting and DNA testing, have led to more effective crime scene investigations, thus increasing the perceived risk of getting caught, deterring criminals from committing crimes.

4. How has legalized abortion contributed to the decrease in crime rates?

Ans: Legalized abortion has led to a decrease in crime rates by reducing the number of unwanted children, thus reducing the high-crime risk factors associated with children raised in impoverished or troubled environments. 5.

What policies can policymakers adopt to reduce crime rates further? Ans: Policymakers can develop policies that address income inequality, increasing the quality of building and vehicle security, reducing drug and alcohol addiction, among other factors, to reduce crime rates further.

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