Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 395–409 | Cite as

Automobile theft: Estimating the size of the criminal population

  • Mark F. Collins
  • Richard M. Wilson


Animal abundance estimation procedures including a new method of Zelterman are applied in the criminological context of auto theft in the Australian Capital Territory. Using goodness-of-fit statistics and comparing the estimates with known clearance rates, it is estimated that during 1987 about 39% of offenders were charged with at least one count of auto theft. The results also indicate the extent of overrepresentation of juveniles in court statistics compared with their relative participation rate in auto theft.

Key words

auto theft criminal population estimation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Challinger, D. (1987). Car security hardware-How good is it? InCar Theft: Putting on the Brakes, NRMA and Australian Institute of Criminology, Sydney.Google Scholar
  2. Emmel, T. C. (1976).Population Biology, Harper and Row, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Greene, M. A., and Stollmack, S. (1981). Estimating the number of criminals. In Fox, J. A. (ed.),Models in Quantitative Criminology, Academic, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Hough, M., and Mayhew, P. (1985).Taking Account of Crime: the 1984 British Crime Survey, HMSO, London.Google Scholar
  5. McGaghy, C. J., Giordano, P. C., and Hensen, T. K. (1977). Auto theft: Offender and offense characteristics.Criminology 15: 367–385.Google Scholar
  6. O'Brien, R. M. (1985).Crime and Victimization Data, Sage, Beverley Hills, Calif.Google Scholar
  7. Riccio, L. J., and Finklestein, R. (1985). Using police arrest data to estimate the number of burglars operating in a suburban county.J. Crim. Just. 13: 65–73.Google Scholar
  8. Sandland, R. L. (1984). Methods of estimating the number of heroin users in NSW. In House Report Series A84/3, NSW Drug and Alcohol Authority, Sydney.Google Scholar
  9. Sandland, R. L. (1986). Estimation of the Number of Heroin Users in NSW Using Police Arrest Data: Development of a Statistical Model, Research Grant Report Series B86/1, NSW Drug and Alcohol Authority, Sydney.Google Scholar
  10. Seber, G. A. F. (1982).The Estimation of Animal Abundance, Griffin, London.Google Scholar
  11. Seber, G. A. F. (1986). A review of estimating animal abundance.Biometrics 42: 267–292.Google Scholar
  12. van Dijk, J. J. M., Mayhew, P., and Killias, M. (1989).Experiences of Crime Across the World: Key Findings of the 1989 International Crime Survey, Research and Documentation Centre, Ministry of Justice, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  13. Willmer, M. A. P. (1970).Crime and Information Theory, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.Google Scholar
  14. Wolfgang, M. E., Figlio, R. M., and Sellin, T. (1972).Delinquency in a Birth Cohort, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  15. Zelterman, D. (1988). Robust estimation in truncated discrete distributions with application to capture-recapture experiments.J. Stat. Plan. Inf. 18: 225–237.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark F. Collins
    • 1
  • Richard M. Wilson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity College, Australian Defence Force AcademyCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations