That Door You Just Kicked in Was Locked for Your Protection, Not Mine: Developing and Testing Competing Theoretical Models of Crime Prevention Behavior

Christopher J. Schreck, Mark T. Berg, Bonnie S. Fisher, Pamela Wilcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: This research investigates tendencies for individuals to preference adopting weaponry to protect their home over unarmed defensive measures such as installing a lock or alarm. We extend the subculture of violence perspective to account for specific choices and test this approach against hypotheses related to situational reactions to threat. Methods: To explore differential preferences in crime prevention choices for protecting the home, we use data from 1,961 Seattle adults, collected during 2002 to 2003. We employ Osgood and Schreck’s multilevel item response theory–based method as our statistical approach. Results: The results indicate that those who endorse the values of the subculture of violence are more likely to have defensive weaponry among their countermeasures against crime, although the results also show that those who believe the police act justly are more likely to procure weapons. Situational reactions to threat also influenced choices, though not always in the predicted direction. Conclusions: Beliefs may be an important determinant for how people protect themselves against crime. Further, criminological theory can successfully explain crime prevention choices in the general population, indicating considerable untapped future directions for research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-345
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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