• Center for Problem oriented policing

Additional Resources

Brown, R. and N. Billing (1996). Tackling Car Crime: An Evaluation of Sold Secure [PDF]. Police Research Group, Crime Detection and Prevention Series, Paper 71. London: Home Office. Briefing Notes [PDF]

Gant, Frances and Peter Grabowsky (2001). The stolen vehicle parts market, [PDF] Trends and Issues, No. 215. Canberra, Australia: Australian Institute of Criminology.

Geason, S., and P. Wilson (1989). Designing Out Crime. Canberra, Australia: Australian Institute of Criminology.

Goldstein Award Submission Glendale, Arizona Police Department Theft Reduction Auto Program (T.R.A.P.) [PDF] focused on reducing theft of cars from dealership parking lots

National Audit Office in Partnership with the Home OfficeTheft from Motor Vehicles Identifying Potential Offenders [PDF]

National Audit Office in Partnership with the Home OfficeUsing Communication to Tackle Theft from Vehicles [PDF]

Smith, D., M. Gregson and J. Morgan (2003). Between the Lines: An Evaluation of the Secured Car Park Award Scheme [PDF]. Home Office Research Study No. 266. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

Thefts from Automobiles: Using Data to Address Community Problems. An Analysis of Thefts from Automobiles Utilizing NIBRS Data [PDF]. Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, Research and Data Unit and Roy City Police Department. March 2002.

Armitage, Rachel. (2012). The Impact of the Design and Layout of Car Parking on Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour [PDF]. University of Huddersfield. This briefing note is one of a series of themed papers which reports the findings from a collaborative project funded by the Home Office and managed by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).


Data Collection Tools

Parking Lot Survey was adapted from The Secured Car Park Scheme, which was developed by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Great Britain. The survey was field tested in Chula Vista, CA.

Abstracts of publications that have appeared since this guide was written

Emerging methods of car theft theft of keys [PDF]. Home Office Findings 239. Levesley, T., G. Braun, M. Wilkinson, and C. Powell (2004). London: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.

This brief paper describes the findings of a study, which examined the theft of keys as an emerging method of car theft. In 1995, European Union legislation made the fitting of electronic immobilizers, designed to prevent a car from starting without the key, mandatory on all new cars manufactured after October 1998. While the use of this technology has been widely regarded as an effective method of reducing theft of new vehicles, anecdotal evidence suggests that some criminals are now concentrating on taking new vehicles by stealing the keys. To examine this issue, data were obtained for 8,303 incidents between 1998 and 2001 of thefts and attempted thefts of cars in the Northumbria and Greater Manchester areas.

Overall, there is some evidence of an increase in the theft of keys over time, which suggests that new methods of theft are emerging in response to increased levels of car security. The most common methods of obtaining keys were through burglaries (37%) and through owners leaving their keys in the car (18%). There was also a rise in the proportion of key thefts during robberies, from around 2% to nearly 4% over the three years, which may suggest a trend towards more concerted attempts to steal cars. Nevertheless, these conclusions are based on relatively limited data, and further research is required to test some of these initial findings.

Car crime. Corbett, C. (2003). Collompton, Devon, UK: Willan Publishing.

This book surveys the extensive area of car crime, largely within the British context, treating it as a coherent whole despite its disparate and varied nature. It begins with the premise that the stereotypical representation of car crime (theft of and from vehicles), while very important, provides too narrow a definition and should be broadened to include offending involving drivers and wider society. However, other than vehicle-related theft, it is arguable that car crime is rarely perceived as 'real crime' or as serious by other drivers, the criminal justice system or the state; which is surprising in view of the extent of social harm caused. Specifically, by locating car crime as a product of car culture, the discussion considers the historical roots of crime legislation involving cars and driving, through to current legislation and its effects and implications. Further, it addresses matters of crime control and prevention; and views car crime in relation to masculinity, gender and car usage issues. Topics such as road rage, mobile phone use, and the perspectives of crash victims and bereaved are explored; other chapters cover theft of and from cars, impaired driving (alcohol, drugs, and fatigue), speeding, dangerous and careless driving, unlicensed driving and car crime in wider society. Some of the recurring themes uncovered include: a lack of seriousness that characterizes driving offenses, their perception and treatment; how car crime is itself constructed; how ultimate legal responsibility is placed with individual drivers (which turns attention from the responsibilities of society and the state); and the fact that much car crime is male car crime. 

Auto Burglaries in an Entertainment District Hotspot: Applying the SARA Model in a Security Context. Bromley, M, and J.K. Cochran (2002). Security Journal, 15(4):63-72.

This study examines the incidence of auto burglary within the confines of Ybor City, an entertainment district hot spot located in metropolitan Tampa, FL. In particular, it examines the factors that offenders often considered to determine the time, location, and targets of their auto theft crimes. Official police crime data, from September 1998 through April 1999, were analyzed within the context of the SARA model of problem solving. Specifically, the SARA model encompasses 4 steps: scanning the environment for useful information, analyzing the data collected, following up with an appropriate response, and assessing the interventions.

The greatest number of auto burglaries (84%) occur on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. It should be noted, however, that these are also the days when the greatest volume of cars come to Ybor City. The two types of parking locations that are most vulnerable to burglary are streets and unfenced lots. Typically, 75% of burglary victims failed to conceal their property, and few have anti-theft devices in their vehicles. Further, almost 20% of victims have parked in unlit areas. Theft of vehicle contents, accessories, and parts are among the most frequent types of larcenies. Overall, these findings suggest that the SARA model has applications in the contexts of security as well as public policing.