Guardianship and crime: an international comparative study of guardianship in action

Abstract

An observational tool was developed to measure guardianship potential and guardianship in action in residential areas in The Hague, the Netherlands by Reynald (Crime Prevention and Community Safety 11(1):1–20, 2009; Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 47(3):358–390, 2010). Guardianship potential was measured using the defensible space-based measures from the Block Environment Inventory (BEI), while Guardianship in Action (GIA) was observed by recording whether or not guardians (1) were visibly available, (2) were monitoring, and (3) intervened when necessary. This article reports on an international comparison of GIA in The Hague and in an American city. A comparative understanding will help advance knowledge on the measurement of active guardianship and related defensible space dimensions and identify socio-cultural differences in the application and meaning of the guardianship concept. Key results include that the observable dimensions of guardianship in action were reliable and valid, but some differences existed between the two sites including significant differences related to the social interaction measure. Similarities and differences across the two sites are examined, and implications for theory and research are explored.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. 1.

    Armitage, R. (2000). An evaluation of Secured by design within west Yorkshire. Home Office Briefing Note 7/00. London: Home Office.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Armitage, R. (2007). Sustainability versus safety: Confusion, conflict and contradiction in designing out crime. In G. Farrell, K. J. Bowers, S. D. Johnson, & M. Townsley (Eds.), Imagination for crime prevention: Essays in honour of Ken Pease. Crime prevention studies, vol. 21 (pp. 81–110). Monsey: Criminal Justice Press.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Armitage, R., Monchuk, L., & Rogerson, M. (2011). It looks good but what is it like to live there? Exploring the impact of innovative housing design on crime. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 17(1), 29–54.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Bennett, R. R. (1991). Routine activities: A cross-national assessment of a criminological perspective. Social Forces, 70(1), 147–163.

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Booth, A. (1981). The built environment as a crime deterrent: A reexamination of defensible space. Criminology, 18, 557–570.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Brantingham, P. L., & Brantingham, P. J. (1993). Nodes, paths, and edges: Considerations on the complexity of crime and the physical environment. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 13, 3–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Brown, B. B., & Perkins, D. D. (2002). Neighborhood revitalization and disorder: An intervention evaluation: Final project report. Rockville, MD: National Criminal Justice Reference Service.

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Cohen, L. E., & Felson, M. (1979). Social change and crime rate trends: A routine activity approach. American Sociological Review, 44(4), 588–608.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Cozens, P., Hillier, D., & Prescott, G. (2001). Crime and the design of residential property: Exploring the theoretical background part 1. Property Management, 19(2), 136–164.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Cozens, P., Saville, G., & Hillier, D. (2005). Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED): A review and modern bibliography. Property Management, 23(5), 328–356.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Cozens, P. (2008). Crime prevention through environmental design. In R. Wortley & L. Mazerolle (Eds.), Environmental criminology and crime analysis. Devon: Willan.

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Eck, J. E., & Weisburd, D. (1994). Crime place in crime theory. In J. E. Eck & D. Weisburd (Eds.), Crime and place. Crime prevention studies (vol. 4). Monsey: Criminal Justice Press.

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Ekblom, P. (2006). Crime prevention through environmental design - time for an upgrade? Paper presented at 17th annual conference on problem-oriented policing, Madison, WI.

  14. 14.

    Ekblom, P. (2007). Crime reduction through surveillance and design. Paper presented at international crime reduction conference, Banff, Canada, October 9–11, 2007.

  15. 15.

    Ekblom, P. (2011). Deconstructing CPTED… and reconstructing it for practice, knowledge, management and research. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 17(1), 7–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Felson, M. (1995). Those who discourage crime. In J. E. Eck & D. Weisburd (Eds.), Crime and place. Crime prevention studies, vol. 4 (1995th ed., pp. 53–66). Monsey: Criminal Justice Press.

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Felson, M., & Boba, R. (2010). Crime and everyday life (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Hollis-Peel, M. E., Reynald, D. M., van Bavel, M., Elffers, H., & Welsh, B. C. (2011). Guardianship for crime prevention: A critical review of the literature. Crime, Law and Social Change, 56, 53–70.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Jeffery, C. R. (1971). Crime prevention through environmental design. Beverly Hills: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Mawby, R. I. (1977). Defensible space: A theoretical and empirical appraisal. Urban Studies, 14, 169–179.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Newman, O. (1972). Defensible space: Crime prevention through urban design. New York: Collier Books.

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Rengert, G. F., & Wasilchick, J. (1985). Suburban burglary: A tale of two cities. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas.

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Reynald, D. M. (2009). Guardianship in action: Developing a new tool for measurement. Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 11(1), 1–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Reynald, D. M. (2010). Guardians on guardianship: Factors affecting the willingness to supervise, the ability to detect potential offenders, and the willingness to intervene. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 47(3), 358–390.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Reynald, D. M. (2011). Factors associated with the guardianship of places: Assessing the relative importance of the spatio-physical and socio-demographic contexts in generating opportunities for capable guardianship. Journal of Research in Crime & Delinquency, 48(1), 110–142.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Reynald, D. M. (2011). Translating CPTED into crime preventive action: A critical examination of CPTED as a tool for active guardianship. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 17(1), 69–81.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Taylor, R. B., Gottfredson, S. D., & Brower, S. N. (1984). Block crime and fear: Defensible space, local social ties, and territorial functioning. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 21, 303–331.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Tseloni, A., Wittebrood, K., Farrell, G., et al. (2004). Burglary victimization in England and Wales, the United States, and the Netherlands: A cross-national comparative test of routine activities and lifestyle theories. British Journal of Criminology, 44(1), 61–91.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Welsh, B. C., Mudge, M. E., & Farrington, D. P. (2010). Reconceptualizing public area surveillance and crime prevention: Security guards, place managers, and defensible space. Security Journal, 23(4), 299–319.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to the editor, the anonymous reviewers, and Henk Elffers for helpful comments.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Brandon C. Welsh.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hollis-Peel, M.E., Reynald, D.M. & Welsh, B.C. Guardianship and crime: an international comparative study of guardianship in action. Crime Law Soc Change 58, 1–14 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10611-012-9366-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Street Segment
  • Crime Prevention
  • Routine Activity
  • National Crime Victimization Survey
  • Routine Activity Theory