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Title: Vandalism : a crime of place?
Author: Bates, Eleanor Joanne Wilson
ISNI:       0000 0004 5352 9055
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2014
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Vandalism is a problem for many communities across Scotland negatively affecting the lives of people who live in them. Whilst there has been recent research into the broad phenomena of anti-social behaviour, there has been little recent research into the specific phenomena of vandalism. In particular, little is understood about why vandalism often persistently re-occurs year in year out in particular locations. Wider research into crime and place suggests that, opportunities to commit crime, levels of relative deprivation, and the capacity or belief that a community can work together (collective efficacy) may be relevant factors. Other theories suggest some areas may act as crime attractors or be more criminogenic than others. There is a strong need for a better understanding of why certain places experience persistent vandalism and others do not. This thesis seeks to redress that gap by suggesting that to understand the nature of vandalism it is best understood as a crime of place rather than property. By drawing on theoretical and methodological approaches from both criminology and geography the thesis explores whether some areas experience high and low concentrations of vandalism year on year; if patterns change over time and whether areas with differing levels of vandalism share characteristics. Exploring issues related to crime and place presents specific methodological challenges. In criminology there has been much debate about whether it is best to consider crime and place processes at the micro or macro level. This thesis contributes to this debate by contending that it is necessary to employ a multi-method approach which integrates both micro and macro levels of investigation to properly understand crime and place. The results presented here are based on secondary analysis of six years of recorded crime data on vandalism supplied by Lothian and Borders police covering the period 1 April 2004 to 31 March 2010 for a case study area within Edinburgh with a broad mix of socio-demographic contexts. The thesis investigates the value of taking an Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis approach combining GIS based Crime Mapping and LISA (Local Indicators of Spatial Autocorrelation) analysis with Group Trajectory Analysis. This is complimented by data acquired from holding focus groups with Police Officers responsible for neighbourhood policing who used shaded maps to aid discussion of characteristics of areas with high and low vandalism. Findings suggest there are distinct High, Low and Drifting areas of vandalism with particular characteristics influenced by crime attractors, routine activities, relative deprivation and collective efficacy. By using an innovative multi-method ESDA quantitative and qualitative approach, important insights into the nature of vandalism as a place crime are gained; using a multi-spatial and temporal approach was found to be crucial. Findings are somewhat confined as they relate to a single case study area and a small number of focus groups were undertaken only with police Officers and not other community actors which may limit generalisabily. These concerns are discussed along with recommendations for future policy on vandalism and theoretical and methodological approaches for researching crime and place.
Supervisor: McVie, Susan; Mackaness, William Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: vandalism ; ESDA ; crime and police ; geovisualisation