Why Did The Policeman Cross the Road?

By Stevyn Colgan

Not so much police intelligence as intelligent policing

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Target Hardening

So ... you're a motor vehicle thief specialising in motorcycles. Which one of these take your fancy?

Or how about from this selection?

Putting a cover over a bike doesn't cost a lot. And it doesn't take very long to do (and you'll have a dry bum on the ride home from work). But it might just deter a thief because they don't know what's under there and it's hassle to get the cover off - especially if it has ties or cords or locks of some kind. And cutting a hole to look inside is behaviour that might just arouse suspicion.

This is a simple example of target hardening - making things difficult for the bad guys.

Most thieves are opportunists - they see something that piques their interest and they think 'I'll have that'. But then they do a kind of risk assessment in their heads to decide if the risks outweigh the spoils or vice versa. The more risk you can load onto their shoulders the better. And removing the interest in the first place is a no brainer.

Target hardening is one of 10 basic principles of crime prevention. None of them are terribly difficult to apply. Most are relatively inexpensive in terms of time and money. They are:

  • Target Hardening (Making it harder for the bad guy to do their job by putting physical obstacles in their way such as alarms, good locks etc.);
  • Target Removal (hiding things from sight or moving them to a place of safety);
  • Removing The Means (don’t give the criminal an advantage by leaving things around that might help them like ladders, keys under flowerpots etc.);
  • Reducing The Payoff (make the stuff harder to re-sell or shift; property marking, lockable mobile phones etc.);
  • Restrict Access (gates, ID badges, security cards etc.);
  • Increase Visibility/Surveillance (not just cameras but trimmed shrubbery to improve lines of sight, Neighbourhood Watch schemes, lighting etc.);
  • Environmental Design (Change the physical environment to make crime more difficult);
  • Rule Setting (Bye-laws, signage etc.);
  • Increasing The Chance of Getting Caught (better lighting, CCTV etc.); and
  • Deflecting Offenders (education programmes, drink and drugs rehab, schools involvement, meaningful activities etc.)

Any of these, or a combination of them, will make you and yours less likely to be the victims of crime.

It's not hard to get hardening.

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