CrimeSolutions.gov

Additional Resources:

Program Profile: Biting Back in Huddersfield (England)

Evidence Rating: Effective - One study Effective - One study

Date: This profile was posted on June 06, 2011

Program Summary

A program designed to reduce repeat victimization in domestic burglary and thefts from cars. The program is rated Effective. There was a greater decrease in recorded and repeats crime than the surrounding areas. There was an increase in satisfaction with police services and no evidence of displaced crime.

Program Description

Program Goal/Target Population

Biting Back was implemented as part of a larger initiative, the Police Operations Against Crime program, and ran from October 1994 until March 1996 in the Huddersfield, England, area. This program was commissioned by the Home Office Police Research Group to contribute to an understanding and prevention of repeat victimization. The program targeted repeat victimization from domestic burglary and theft from cars. While the aim of the program was to reduce repeat victimization as in other, similar programs, it was also designed to demonstrate that this type of program could successfully be implemented on a larger, division-wide scale.

 

Since one of the biggest predictors of future victimization is having previously been victimized, police identified repeat victims and offered rising levels of response and support according to the number of times victims had been victimized.

 

Program Components

The key steps for this program were as follows:

 

·         Quantification of repeat victimization and its representation in official crime statistics

·         Identification of repeat victims

·         Establishment of program components, such as Cocoon Watch and Police Watch (see below), and availability of equipment for temporary installation (videos, alarms)

·         Training of police to make them aware of the problem of repeat victimization and its impact; liaison with local authority

·         Monitoring of the program

 

Through analysis of available police data and working with victims, police established that there were many repeat burglaries and car crimes in the Huddersfield area, the repeat crime usually happened quickly after the initial incident, and there were problems in police data recognizing repeats as such.

 

To deal with the issue of initial as opposed to repeat victimization, the police developed a tiered response. After the first victimization, the victim receives a “bronze response,” which includes components such as a personalized letter for the victim and a packet that included crime prevention advice, as well as discount vouchers for security equipment. After a second incident, police implement the “silver response,” which includes activities such as a visit from a Crime Prevention Officer and police watch visits. After a third incident, police implement the “gold response,” which can include increased police watches and the actual installation of high-tech equipment, such as alarms and covert cameras, by the police (such installations may not be permanent, however).

 

A variety of technologies have been incorporated into the program, including the following:

 

·         Index Solutions (Smart Water). This system marks offenders with a dye that is invisible in normal lighting.

·         Tracker. This device can be installed on targets of burglary (in this case, boilers) so the device can be tracked and recovered.

·         Monitored alarms. This type of alarm was originally used to monitor the elderly/infirm, but was offered to victims.

 

Other components include:

 

·         Cocoon watches. Immediate neighbors are alerted about the crime and invited to be vigilant for the victim and the property in question. Neighbors are given contact information to report any suspicious activity.

·         Police watches. Police patrols are deployed to the area of crime on a twice-weekly (silver response) or daily (gold response) basis, around the time of day the crime had occurred.

 

Key Personnel

The following individuals and groups were critical to the Huddersfield Biting Back program. Some of these roles may be modified, depending on the level of problems being addressed and the resources of the department.

 

Coordinator. The coordinator served as the police divisional “champion” and was responsible for monitoring the project’s success. This individual was responsible for liaising with external partners and deciding which response should be implemented, based on information from the investigating officers and the vulnerability of the victim.

 

Crime Prevention Officer (CPO). The selection of a CPO helped signify the key role of crime prevention alongside detection in the department. This officer visited all repeat victims and worked with the coordinator to determine what equipment should be installed. The CPO also helped survey areas to identify environmental factors and changes that could be the catalyst for increased criminal activity.

 

Analysts. These individuals scanned the Crime Information System and crime pattern analysis system daily to find “hidden” repeats.

 

Administrator. This individual oversaw the distribution of personalized letters and crime prevention packages to victims and also handled inquiries from other agencies and police forces.

 

Section Liaison Officers. These officers were selected from outlying stations to help engage officers from these outlying areas. They maintained a range of security equipment for loan to victims and passed on information from teams in their areas.

 

For Huddersfield, important partners included the local authority, which helped with repairs and security upgrades; victim support, which stayed in touch with the analyst for up-to-date information; the University of Huddersfield, which undertook a student victimization survey, launched a campus crime campaign, and worked with students’ landlords to ensure security upgrades had been made; the media, which helped deliver information about crime prevention and victim vulnerability; and the victims, who helped by implementing precautions quickly.

Evaluation Outcomes

top border

Study 1

Recorded Repeats

Chenery, Holt, and Pease (1997) found there was a greater decrease in recorded repeats in Huddersfield, England, than elsewhere. The counting of tiered responses (bronze, silver, or gold) reflected a very large reduction in repeats, while the postal survey of victims indicated a more modest effect. This difference may be attributable to a higher rate of mailed returns from Huddersfield victims than elsewhere due to victim satisfaction, which has been associated with higher participation rates in surveys. Reductions were greater for burglary than theft from vehicles.

 

Recorded Crime

Domestic burglary in Huddersfield declined by 30 percent, while motor vehicle theft declined by 20 percent relative to surrounding areas.

 

Satisfaction With Police Services

Individuals satisfied with police increased by 10 percent in the target area, while the number decreased by 2 percent in surrounding areas. This was a statistically significant effect.

 

Displacement of Crime

There was no evidence of displacement.

bottom border

Evaluation Methodology

top border

Study 1

Chenery, Holt, and Pease (1997) used a quasi-experimental design with a nonequivalent control group to discern the effect of the Biting Back program on repeat burglary. Data were collected through surveys of West Yorkshire, England, police officers and domestic burglary victims; counts of bronze, silver, and gold responses deployed in the Biting Back program area; changes in recorded repeat victimizations and recorded crime; and interviews with repeat victims.

 

To determine changing levels of repeat victimization, the researchers sampled a short period in March 1996 (March 11–15) and noted any domestic burglaries to the same Huddersfield addresses in the year preceding the burglary. The same exercise was carried out for each of the other West Yorkshire police divisions for comparative purposes. They did the same for equivalent periods in 1994, which allowed them to compare the repeat victimization rates for the two different periods. This yielded the annual number of prior recorded victimizations per victimized household for a period before the project and for an equivalent period during the project, separately for Huddersfield and for elsewhere in the West Yorkshire police force.

 

To assess the changing levels of crime, Chenery and colleagues used three-point moving averages to compare rates of domestic burglary and theft from motor vehicles in Huddersfield to the rest of the West Yorkshire force from January 1994 through March 1996.

 

bottom border

Cost

top border
There is no cost information available for this program.
bottom border

Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

top border
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Chenery, Sylvia, John Holt, and Ken Pease. 1997. Biting Back II: Reducing Repeat Victimisation in Huddersfield. Crime Detection and Prevention Series Paper 82. London, England: Home Office, Police Research Group
http://www.popcenter.org/problems/domestic_violence/PDFs/Chenery_etal_1997.pdf
bottom border

Additional References

top border
These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Anderson, David, and Ken Pease. 1997. “Biting Back: Preventing Repeat Burglary and Car Crime in Huddersfield.” In Ronald V. Clarke (ed.). Situational Crime Prevention: Successful Case Studies (2nd ed.). Guilderland, N.Y.: Harrow and Heston, 200–208.

Home Office Police Research Group. N.d. Biting Back: Tackling Repeat Burglary and Car Crime. Home Office Police Research Group Briefing Note. London, England: Home Office, Police Research Group Publication.
http://www.popcenter.org/problems/domestic_violence/PDFs/Anderson_etal_1995.pdf
bottom border


Program Snapshot

Gender: Both

Geography: Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Home, Other Community Setting

Program Type: Community and Problem Oriented Policing, Victim Programs, Community Crime Prevention , Situational Crime Prevention, General deterrence, Specific deterrence

Targeted Population: Victims of Crime

Current Program Status: Active

Researcher:
Sylvia Chenery
Managing Associate
Applied Criminology Associates
Phone: 44.0.7764.196576
Email