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Residential burglary and repeat burglary victimisation in Tasmania

Goodwin, V 2006 , 'Residential burglary and repeat burglary victimisation in Tasmania', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis presents the findings from one of the most comprehensive research studies on
residential burglary undertaken to date in Australia. One of the key strengths of the study
is the use of different methods to examine various aspects of the burglary problem in
Tasmania. The study involved interviews with 60 imprisoned burglars, 50 repeat burglary
victims, ten insurance industry representatives and ten police officers. In addition, police
data relating to the residential burglaries committed in Southern Tasmania over the threeyear
period from 2000-2002 were analysed, with a particular focus on six suburbs, three
of which were public housing areas.
The study makes an important empirical contribution to the existing research on burglary.
The empirical findings relate to various aspects of the residential burglary problem in
Tasmania, such as the different profile of burglary in public housing areas compared to
other suburbs, the_nature and extent of repeat victimisation, the reasons why people make
false reports to police, the nature and extent of insutance fraud and the main methods of
disposal of stolen goods. The study also tests some of the theoretical assumptions about
burglary, such as the importance ofthe drug-crime relationship, and the relevance of flag
and boost accounts of repeat victimisation, and explores the extent to which burglars are
rational decision-makers.
The study provides a range of new insights into the burglary problem and confirms some
of the findings from research conducted elsewhere. The analysis of the six suburbs
reveals that both the burglary rate and the proportion of repeat burglaries are much higher
in the three public housing areas. The high burglary rate in these areas is partly
attributable to the large number of burglaries of vacant public housing dwellings, usually
involving the theft of household items such as wood heaters, stoves and hot-water
cylinders. Various research and policy implications emerge from the study, such as: the
need to address police data quality issues; the need for greater clarification in defining
what is meant by repeat burglary victimisation; the need to review public housing
allocation policies and implement strategies to facilitate the development of social
capital; the need to provide rehabilitative programs for offenders; the need for greater
cooperation between the police and lhe insurance industry to enhance fraud prevention;
and the potential benefit of focusing more attention on collecting forensic evidence at the
burglary scene.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Goodwin, V
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