Crime Prevention and Community Safety

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 1–21 | Cite as

Typologies of suburban guardians: understanding the role of responsibility, opportunities, and routine activities in facilitating surveillance

  • Emily MoirEmail author
  • Timothy C. Hart
  • Danielle M. Reynald
  • Anna Stewart
Original Article


Research suggests that personal and situational characteristics influence how and when residents provide guardianship over where they live (Reynald in J Res Crime Delinq 47(3): 358–390, 2010). However, there is limited empirical scholarship regarding what motivates residents to act as guardians and control crime in different contexts. The current study explores the role motivation and opportunity play in facilitating monitoring and intervention among potential guardians against crime in suburban Australia. Twenty semi-structured interviews with Brisbane suburban residents were conducted and suggested the existence of four typologies of suburban guardians: active, opportunistic, responsive, and non-guardians. Factors crucial to facilitating monitoring include the physical design of houses, relationships with neighbours, prior victimisation, and daily routine activities. Direct intervention is supported by feelings of responsibility and capability. Other themes found to support guardianship decision-making were also identified, and results suggest that residents supervise and monitor their street regardless of current crime rates. Implications for theory and practice, and directions for future research, are discussed.


Routine activity theory Monitoring Surveillance Active guardianship Suburbs Intervention 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Moir
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Timothy C. Hart
    • 2
  • Danielle M. Reynald
    • 1
    • 3
  • Anna Stewart
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Griffith Criminology InstituteGriffith UniversityMt GravattAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Criminology and Criminal JusticeThe University of TampaTampaUSA
  3. 3.School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeGriffith UniversityMt GravattAustralia

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