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Hotspots of corruption: Applying a problem-oriented policing approach to preventing corruption in the public sector

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Abstract

Some places have no crime and some have a lot, and thus we study hotspots. Corruption is structured differently to crime, but hotspots still are notable. The difference is that hotspots are not places but clusters of activity. This article analyses corruption cases from New York City to explore a way of identifying such clusters. Seventy-two cases were coded according to features that represent the elements of the crime triangle: offender and motivation, target and opportunity, and place and ability. Multidimensional scaling revealed three groups of cases, exhibiting different patterns of corrupt activity. Group one involved politicians involved in high value financial corruption. Group two primarily involved supervisors who created opportunities involving procurement and contracts. Group three involved inspectors, particularly in the infrastructure sector, who were involved with low value bribes to violate regulations. Each is discussed in relation to situational crime prevention principles to develop possible strategies for prevention.

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Notes

  1. For example, an anonymous reviewer suggested merit in exploring the prevalence of corruption among similar positions across different sectors or industries to see if specific vulnerabilities are evident.

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Correspondence to Louise E Porter.

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Porter, L., Graycar, A. Hotspots of corruption: Applying a problem-oriented policing approach to preventing corruption in the public sector. Secur J 29, 423–441 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1057/sj.2013.38

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