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What clears burglary offenses? Estimating the influences of multiple perspectives of burglary clearance in Philadelphia

Brian Lockwood (Department of Criminal Justice, Monmouth University, West Long Beach, Pennsylvania, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 11 November 2014




Although many studies have examined the correlates of homicide clearance rates, few analyses have examined the factors related to the clearance of burglary offenses. The purpose of this paper is to address several gaps in the literature to determine if burglary clearance rates are due to discretionary, non-discretionary, and/or neighborhood contextual factors.


Data are analyzed from more than 10,000 burglary incidents in Philadelphia from 2010 using multilevel models to simultaneously test for the influence of multiple perspectives of the factors of crime clearance.


The results indicate that variables representing broken windows enforcement, discretionary factors, and non-discretionary factors are related to the increased likelihood that burglaries are cleared, but processes associated with social disorganization within communities is not.

Research limitations/implications

The findings contribute to the literature by showing that future examinations of the factors of burglary clearance should consider community contextual factors, and specifically, that broken windows police enforcement appears to be a more important predictor of burglary clearance than do factors related to social disorganization theory. As a result, it is suggested that law enforcement also consider their tactics regarding low-level offenses if they wish to address the clearance rate of burglaries.


This analysis is among the first to examine multiple perspectives of the factors of crime clearance on burglary incidents.



The author would like to thank Amber Perenzin and Dr Jerry Ratcliffe of Temple University's Department of Criminal Justice and the Philadelphia Police Department for access to burglary incident data for this analysis.


Lockwood, B. (2014), "What clears burglary offenses? Estimating the influences of multiple perspectives of burglary clearance in Philadelphia", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 37 No. 4, pp. 746-761.



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