The Crime Drop and the Security Hypothesis

  title={The Crime Drop and the Security Hypothesis},
  author={Graham Farrell and Andromachi Tseloni and Jen Mailley and Nick Tilley},
  journal={Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency},
  pages={147 - 175}
Major crime drops were experienced in the United States and most other industrialized countries for a decade from the early to mid-1990s. Yet there is little agreement over explanation or lessons for policy. Here it is proposed that change in the quantity and quality of security was a key driver of the crime drop. From evidence relating to vehicle theft in two countries, it is concluded that electronic immobilizers and central locking were particularly effective. It is suggested that reduced… 

Figures from this paper

Security and the Drop in Car Theft in the United States

Since the early 1990s, all categories of crime have fallen in the United States. Previous research has provided various explanations for this downward trend in crime. These include, for example,

On the Origins of the Crime Drop: Vehicle Crime and Security in the 1980s

It is concluded that what became the change in the rate of vehicle‐related theft began in the 1980s, which is earlier than typically understood and the gradual arc of the theft rate over more than a decade is consistent with new security gradually permeating the vehicle fleet.

Attempted Crime and the Crime Drop

This study contributes to crime drop research on the security hypothesis. Using data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, it finds that the decline in attempted vehicle-related theft and

The East Asian crime drop?

It is shown that Japan and Taiwan experienced crime drops similar to that reported elsewhere but occurring more recently in the early 2000s, and Hong Kong appears anomalous, with a major crime decline emerging from the early 1980s.

Explaining and sustaining the crime drop: Clarifying the role of opportunity-related theories

Western industrialised countries experienced major reductions in crime for a decade from the early to mid-1990s. The absence of adequate explanation identifies a failing of criminological theory and

Five tests for a theory of the crime drop

Many studies have sought to explain the major crime declines experienced in most advanced countries. Key hypotheses relate to: lead poisoning; abortion legalization; drug markets; demographics;

Towards a Comprehensive Research Plan on Opportunity Theory and the Crime Falls

Key previous hypotheses drawn from United States’ (US) data are inapplicable elsewhere and cannot offer any explanation for why some crimes, particularly mobile phone theft and Internet-related crimes, had increased concurrently with drops in other crime types.

Target Suitability and the Crime Drop

The initial focus of Felson’s routine activity perspective was the crime increases of the 1960s and 1970s that were largely a function of inadvertent changes in everyday life (Cohen & Felson, 1979).

Crime, Science and Policing

In almost every country on earth the primary means used by governments in the control of crime involves the use of a criminal justice system – police, courts and prisons etc. This paper will suggest

Reexamining political economy and crime and explaining the crime drop

Critical criminologists have ignored the crime drop, and have failed to undertake efforts to explain this phenomenon. As a result, explanations of the crime drop are entirely explored from an



DECLINING VIOLENT CRIME RATES IN THE 1990S: Predicting Crime Booms and Busts

▪ Abstract The United States in the 1990s has experienced the greatest sustained decline in violent crime rates since World War II—even though rates thus far have not fallen as rapidly as they

Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not

Crime fell sharply in the United States in the 1990s, in all categories of crime and all parts of the nation. Homicide rates plunged 43 percent from the peak in 1991 to 2001, reaching the lowest

The crime drop in comparative perspective: the impact of the economy and imprisonment on American and European burglary rates.

A pooled cross-sectional time-series analysis of burglary rates in the USA and nine European nations between 1993 and 2006 indicates that burglary declines in the US and Europe were associated with rising consumer confidence and imprisonment appears to be significantly related to burglary rates only after unusual policy interventions.

The Great American Crime Decline

Few criminologists were surprised when crime rates rose sharply in the 1960s. The upturn reflected demographic causes, one of the “usual suspects” of criminological theory. As the baby boomers

Crime Prevention and the Displacement Phenomenon

This article examines the argument that crime prevention programs which stress opportunity reduction or increased risk to offenders are without value because they merely displace crime—that is, shift

Exploring the international decline in crime rates

This paper examines aggregate crime trends and variation around them from 1988 to 2004 for 26 countries and five main crime types using data from the International Crime Victims Survey. Multilevel

Crime is the Problem: Homicide, Acquisitive Crime, and Economic Conditions

A question that emerges from recent research on the relationship between economic conditions and street crimes committed for monetary gain concerns the effect of changing economic conditions on


Preoccupation with the threat of displacement has led crime prevention researchers to overlook the phenomenon of "diffusion of benefits," the unexpected reduction of crimes not directly targeted by

Social Change and Crime Rate Trends: A Routine Activity Approach

In this paper we present a "routine activity approach" for analyzing crime rate trends and cycles. Rather than emphasizing the characteristics of offenders, with this approach we concentrate upon the

Anticipatory benefits in crime prevention

This chapter seeks to point out the basic phenomenon, i.e., the prematurity of many crime prevention effects relative to the point at which they would occur if they were the product of their presumed mechanism.