The conceptualization and measurement of citizens' crime prevention behaviors

Paul J. Lavrakas, Dan A. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


During the last decade scholars have begun to investigate crime prevention behav iors among citizens. Various classification schemes have been proposed in implicit and explicit attempts to conceptualize “what people do to reduce the likelihood and/or impact of criminal victimization.” A review of four such classification sys tems-avoidance/mobilization activities; access control/surveillance/territori ality; individual/collective behaviors; and public-minded/private-minded activities-finds that in no case was the validity of the distinctions sup ported by empirical evidence. The present paper offers the results of secon dary analyses of data from four surveys-a 1972 Kansas City survey, a 1974 Portland survey, a 1975 Hartford survey, and a 1977 Philadelphia-Chicago-San Francisco survey-each of which included items that measured various crime pre vention behaviors by citizens. A factor analysis and internal consistency check were performed on the relevant set of items from each survey. Results provide pre liminary evidence of what a reliable conceptualization of citizens' crime prevention behaviors may include, and how the dimensions can be measured. It is suggested that future policy making, program planning, research, and evaluation in crime prevention by citizens should consider more fully the uncertain validity of past conceptualizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-272
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The conceptualization and measurement of citizens' crime prevention behaviors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this