A building boom in Charlotte, North Carolina led to sharp increases in the number of kitchen appliances stolen from houses under construction. This paper describes a problem-oriented policing project, extending over a period of more than two years, that was undertaken by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to address the problem. A detailed analysis of security practices and risks of theft was made for 25 builders operating in one of the police service districts north of the city. This produced the recommendation that installation of appliances should be delayed until the new owners had taken up residence, thus effectively removing the targets of theft. Twelve of the larger builders agreed to experiment with this approach for a period of six months, though systematic checks made by police throughout the period found that builder compliance was variable. Despite this, analysis showed that delayed installation was an effective policy. Appliance theft declined in the district and there was no evidence of displacement of thefts to surrounding districts. The concluding discussion of the difficulties encountered by police in undertaking problem-oriented projects focuses on the vital role of crime analysis and considers ways to strengthen analytic capacity in police departments.
Community Oriented Policing Services, US Department of Justice, Criminal Justice Press, NY and Willan Publishing, Devon, UK (2002)