Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Summary of Responses

The table below summarizes the responses to home invasion robbery, the mechanism by which they are intended to work, the conditions under which they ought to work best, and some factors you should consider before implementing a particular response. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances, and that you can justify each response based on reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve several different responses. Law enforcement responses alone are seldom effective in reducing or solving this problem.

# Response How It Works Works Best If..... Considerations
Offender-Based Responses

Disrupting offender groups

Identifies and deters offender groups involved in repeat robberies ....a series of home robberies is identified, analyzed, and responded to immediately Response is limited if home robberies are very infrequent or committed by unrelated offenders

Using intelligence to target known offenders

Increases robbers' risk of apprehension .....police can build intelligence databases containing information from different sources to target repeat robbers Officers may need additional training or assistance from a civilian IT professional; continually working with other agencies to obtain real-time data (e.g., daily, weekly, or monthly updates) could be difficult
3 Using handlers to control offenders Individuals personally close to offenders exert control over their criminal behavior ....handlers have a strong enough influence to remove offender's excuses for robbing Family or friends may not want to strain relationship with the offender; family or friends may be co-offenders
4 Diverting potential offenders Removes excuses for offending (e.g., drug needs, unemployment, boredom) by connecting offenders to services and legitimate activities

.....your agency works with social services agencies, human resources departments, and schools

Offenders may prefer criminal lifestyle and ignore services and activities
5 Disrupting stolen goods markets Reduces rewards for offenders, who cannot "cash-in" stolen items .....your agency works with local businesses (e.g., pawn shops, resale stores) that can identify offenders/groups wanting to make these transactions Will not affect robbers who take only cash or do not sell noncash items
Victim-Based Responses

Improving victims' reporting

Helps identify offenders, investigate incidents, and learn about robbery patterns .....the reporting is easy, provides some benefit for victims, and victims receive support Not applicable if victims are involved in illegal activities and so unlikely to report to police

Launching a home robbery awareness campaign

Encourages potential victims to better protect their homes and themselves .....awareness campaigns target the people most at risk of home robbery Your agency may need to work with a local public relations firm to help create an effective campaign; may also want to work with residents to learn about the specific problem, so messages can be tailored
8 Making senior citizens less vulnerable Raises potential victims' awareness of home robbery risk and reduces the likelihood of victimization .....special circumstances put senior citizens at particular risk Consider carefully the particular needs of senior citizens in your community, which may be difficult for your agency to address if it has little contact with them
9 Making some cultures less vulnerable Raises potential victims' awareness of home robbery risk and reduces the likelihood of victimization .....special circumstances put certain cultural groups at particular risk Consider cultural factors that influence perceptions among certain groups

Partnering with local service companies

Reduces the likelihood of "con" victimization by raising awareness of risk and teaching how to identify legitimate service workers .....con robberies in which offenders pose as service workers are common in your community Con robbers may tactically displace by posing as different figures (e.g., police officers or door-to-door salesmen)

Encouraging victim compliance

Reduces the likelihood of victim injury during an attack .....victims can remain calm and fight the impulse to defend themselves Will not reduce home robbery incidents
Location-Based Responses
12 Increasing dwelling visibility Increases the risk of detection via natural guardianship .....neighbors are alert and home to spot offenders Not ideal for reducing con robberies where offenders don't worry about being seen
13 Securing dwellings externally Increases the effort needed to break into the home are not well-secured from the outside Security upgrades may be costly and must be purchased by the homeowner

Securing dwellings internally

Increases the risk of detection of offenders inside the home systems are activated when occupants are home At-risk residents may not have security systems already in place
15 Increasing occupancy indicators Enhances police intelligence about shoplifting incidents and groups .....indicators are used throughout the home Home robbers may be more attracted to homes that appear occupied
Responses with Limited Effectiveness
16 Increasing broad surveillance and access control Increases the risk of detection and apprehension by installing CCTV, improving lighting, or closing streets and alleys .....tactics are focused at shared residence buildings High-risk areas may be too large for such measures
17 Deploying visible vehicle directed patrol Increases the risk of detection and apprehension by strengthening formal surveillance .....police make it part of a highly visible, proactive task force Vehicle patrols may have to cover larger areas, making it less effective; foot patrols are probably not an effective option