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Tourism And Crime Theories Criminology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 3988 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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There is an extensive research and theories of crime and crime prevention measures. The field of criminology has developed several integrated theories, which draws its theoretical basis from many different disciplines such as legal studies, psychology, biology and sociology (Holcomb, 2004).

Although there is an extensive research on crime and its theories, the theory which explains on the relationship between tourism and crime are limited. This is supported by Pizam , who states that there are limited empirical studies which explained the relationship between tourism and crime (as cited in Williams, 2010).

Among the available theories of crime, two theories particularly relates to the relationship between tourism and crime. Anuar, Jaini, Kamarudin & Nasir (2011), Breetzke and Horn (2009 ), Crotts (1996), Holcomb (2004), and Williams (2010) are among the researchers whom had studied on crime and tourism and included these two theories in their research. These theories are the Routine Activity Theory and the Hot Spot Theory. In order to fully understand the Safe City Programme, it is necessary to explore these two theories in more depth as these theories could offer potential insights into the relationship between tourism and crime ().

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Routine Activity Theory provides a macro perspective on crime (Felson and Cohen,1979). Based on this theory, the changes in the routine activities of one’s everyday life can lead to criminality. This theory also explains that changes in social and economic conditions can influence the overall crime and victimization rate. Because of this, it is a controversial theory among sociologists who believe in the social causes of crime. According to this theory, in order for a crime to occur, three elements must take place in time and space. The three elements are a suitable target, a motivated offender, and the absence of a capable guardian (Felson & Cohen, 1979). In terms of suitable target, the more vulnerable the target is, the more likely that crime will occur. The second element; a motivated offender, refers to someone who has adopted a criminal lifestyle, while the third element; a relative absence of a capable guardian where guardians can be a physical appearance of a person, or in the form of devices such as CCTV or security system.

The second criminology theory which relates to tourism is the Hot Spot Theory. This theory explains that there are specific locations that provide a place of opportunities in which predatory crimes can occur (Crotts, 1996). The cluster in a few specific places is where the tourists are at a greater risk of being a victim of crime. According to Crotts (1996), these ‘hot spots’ or specific places provide an environment in which value, visibility and accessibility of the tourist target are high among motivated offenders. Moreover, these specific places allow for the opportunity to escape once the crime has occurred. Research by Ryan and Kinder (1996) illustrated that crime hotspots are places which has bars, nightclubs, and strip joints catering to tourists (as cited in Williams, 2010).

Tourist Victimization

According to Chesney-Lind & Lind (1986) tourists become victims of crime for a number of reasons:

They are recognizable by their clothing, whereby they tend to wear clothes that has a caption such as “I love Bali” or clothes that are not normally found in the host country.

They usually carry large sums of money, and also expensive items such as cameras and jewellery.

They often engaged in other activities such as venturing unknowingly into parts of the area which residents consider dangerous.

They are usually relaxed, off guard and uncautious because they are too caught up with the attractions of the destination.

They are temporary visitors to the communities which they are not familiar with.

They are unlikely to report crime and return as witnesses at trial as it is both difficult and expensive to return to the destination.

This was supported by a number of studies which have shown that the rate of tourists’ crime experience, particularly larceny, theft, and robbery, is higher than that experienced by the local residents (Fujii & Mak, 1980; Chesney-Lind & Lind, 1986; de Albuquerque & McElroy, 1999; Harper, 2001; Barker, Page, & Meyer, 2002).

However, there is a limitation among the literature whereby the researchers did not identify the victim’s characteristics or to distinguish between the tourists and residents. Chesney-Lind and Lind (1986) and de Albuquerque and McElroy (1999) did differentiate tourists from residents but were unable to identify any specific characteristics of victims.

Contradictory to the findings, Mawby, Brunt and Hambly (1999) who did an exploratory study of crime against tourists in Britain found that tourists rarely fall victim to crime while on holiday in Britain. Only 50 respondents out of 514 respondents had been a victim of crime on their last holiday. Nevertheless, their findings still suggest that tourists are vulnerable to victimisation, and are also affected by their crime experiences.

Barker, Page & Meyer (2002) examines tourist and destination crime rates based on the hosting of a special event which is the 2000 America’s Cup. They review literatures of different background in social science: tourism research on special events and crime, crime research that has referred to tourism, and the wider criminology literature in relation to victimization. Their results indicate that tourists age, accommodation choice and the number of travelling companions affects their risks of becoming a victim of crime.

Fear of Crime and Feeling of Safe

The term ‘Fear of Crime’ has been used in criminology research since the 1960s (George, 2003). This term was used as an instrument for victimisation surveys (British Crime Survey,1982). The instruments were aimed at getting responses on respondents feeling of safe or unsafe while in certain situations such as when walking in the city or when using public transport.

According to George (2003), if a tourist feels unsafe or threatened at a destination, they will have a negative perception about the destination itself. On the contrary, if a tourist feels safe at a destination, they will have a positive perception of the destination. Similary, Sonmez and Graefe (1998) identified that feeling of safety during travel have a strong influence on the avoidance of certain destinations. Furthermore, George (2003) also found that tourists might not take part in activities if they feel unsafe in a particular destination.

According to Boakye (2012), who studied on tourists’ views on safety and vulnerability in Ghana, he had found that tourists felt most unsafe at attraction sites as compared to accommodation and in open spaces and interestingly, it emerged that the tourists hardly mentioned the presence or visibility of law enforcement agencies when identifying what made them feel safe. This finding appears to challenge the assumption that tourists will feel secure when there is evidence of uniformed security (Boakye, 2012).

George (2003) investigated the tourist perception of crime and safety while visiting Cape Town. He found that 36% of the respondents are hesitant to walk in the streets of Cape Town after dark. He also found that nearly 20% of the respondents felt unsafe and a further 41.2% were unsure about how safe they felt when using the public transport in the city. Aside from that, the research also seeks to find out if there is a relationship between specific demographic characteristics and tourist’s perceptions of safety in Cape Town. The findings suggest that during their visits, older tourists were more likely to feel safe than younger tourists. George (2003) suggested several reasons for the findings. Firstly, it may be because younger tourists usually venture out in the evening, and thus feels unsafe. Secondly, older tourists are more experienced and wise. Lastly, older tourists stayed at resorts and hotels whereby younger tourists stayed in backpacker accommodation in less safe areas.

Additionally, an interesting finding of George (2003) is that gender is not a significant factor affecting tourist perception of safety in Cape Town. This result contradicts the findings of Demos (1992) who found that women were far more cautious on walking the streets of Washington, DC after dark. This is also supported by Amir, Ismail, Hanafiah and Baba (2012) who studied on foreign tourists’ perception on the safety and security measures in Kuala Lumpur. They found that safety concern is prominent among female tourists.

Moreover, Barker et al. (2002), also studied on the relationship between demographic characteristics and tourists perception of safety. Their results indicate that the difference in tourists ethnicity, age, accommodation choice, communication skills and the number of travelling companions affects tourist’s perceptions of crime and safety.

A study by Lepp and Gibson (2003) found that the feeling of safety felt by tourist during their stay will determine their willingness to revisit the destination. However, an interesting finding by Brunt, Mawby and Hambly (2000) is that tourists would still return to the destination if they experience personal theft or known someone who has had such an experience. This was supported by George (2010) who found that irrespective of tourist perception of Table Mountain National Park to be an unsafe environment, they are still willing to revisit and recommend the attraction to others. This is also consistent with a study done by George (2003) who found that tourists would still return to the destination if they feel unsafe at the destination.

Crime Prevention Programs (Safe City Programme)

Safe City Programme (SCP) was first introduced and launched in 1996, at the international level by United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). Johannesburg, Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi are among the cities which has executed this programme. SCP is defined as a city that is free from crime (Anuar, 2011). According to UN-Habitat, the main objectives of SCP are to build capacities at city level to adequately address urban insecurity and contribute to the establishment of a culture of prevention. According to UN-Habitat, there are three approaches to SCP which is primary prevention strategy through designing the physical environment; secondary prevention strategy through enhancing social behaviour for both criminal and crime victim; and formal preventing strategy through the punishment done directly towards the criminal actors as well as to ensure the criminal actors will not repeat the same crime.

In Malaysia, Safe City Programme (SCP) is defined as a city that is free from all physical, social and mental threats (Department of Town and Country Planning, 2006). The SCP is launched in Malaysia by The Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) on 10th August 2004 (Anuar, 2011). According to Anuar (2010), the aim of this program is to enhance the population quality of life and also to increase the level of safety among a tourist within the city area. The SCP is implemented using the guideline provided by JBPD which consists of 23 measures of crime prevention approach through three important strategies which will be explained in the table below.

Environmental Design Initiatives

Segregation of Pedestrian Walkways and Motorways

Preparation of Bollards

Control Landscape Crops along Pedestrian Walkways

Crime Prevention Research Through Environmental Design

Sharing Crime Information through GIS Based Mapping

Revision of Housing Arrangement Guidelines

Target Hardening

Police Booth

Crime Reminder Sign Board

Safety Mirror

Security Alarm

Washing / Cleaning Cluttered and Hidden Areas

Motorcycle Locked Parking Base

Installation of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)

Lights Installation at Business Premises’ Walkways

Public Pathways that are not Sheltered or Obstructed from Public View

Lighting Crime Targeted Area

Obstruct Business Activities and Park Car at the Pedestrian Walkways

Generate Variety of Business Activities

Private Security Guard Service

Social Activities/Society Education/Public



Installation of Lighting at Side Lanes, Front and Back Yard

Preparation of Community Crime Booklet

Increase Patrolling in Housing Area

Previous researcher whom had studied on the Safe City Programme in Malaysia is Anuar and Khalifah (2009), they had studied on the importance of the Safe City Programme as a basis of tourism safety in Johor Bahru. They had found that, the most important step implemented in Safe City Programme is the installation of CCTV in Johor Bahru whereby they feel that the step would guarantee their safety while they are in Johor Bahru (Anuar & Khalifah, 2009). Another study which is by Anuar et al., (2011) explores on the most importance steps of crime prevention and the effectiveness of Safe City Programme in Putrajaya and found that the effectiveness of crime prevention steps at Putrajaya is hesitating. Therefore, this study would take into the research done by Anuar & Khalifah (2009) with a different scope of the study on Kuala Lumpur and different set of respondents which consists of international tourists.

Urban Tourism and Crime Prevention Measures

crime prevention and reduction theories of defensible space,crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED),situational crime prevention and environmental criminology have increasingly been supported by empirical research suggesting that physical design and

management of the built environment play a role in facilitating or diminishing opportunities for crime and violence ().The lack of integration of crime prevention strategies within comprehensive city planning practices has been cited as a factor in facilitating opportunities for urban crime

Jane Jacobs wrote a book entitled The Death and Life of Great American Cities in 1961. Jacobs observed the physical environment in order to gain a perspective on crime and the interconnection of the planned city. She investigated how people occupy and behave in the space. From her observations, Jacobs determined that in order for a city street to be successful it must have three main qualities:

1. Demarcation:

First, there must be a clear demarcation between what public space is and what private space is. Public and private spaces cannot ooze into each other as they do typically in suburban settings or in projects.

2. Ownership of Public Space:

Second, there must be eyes upon the street; eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street.

3. Constant Users:

And third, the sidewalk must have users on it fairly continuously, both to add to the number of effective eyes on the street and to induce the people in buildings along the street to watch the sidewalks in sufficient numbers

(Jacobs 1961, p. 35).

Crowe believes the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) concept is to create positive behavioral effects by manipulating the physical environment, which in turn, diminishes offender activity and the fear of crime. In addition to these crime prevention elements, Newman furthered the idea that physical design could affect behavior and the human perception. Based on Newman’s defensible space theory, the three primary principles in CPTED are access control, surveillance and territorial reinforcement. Access control is a design concept that limits access of unauthorized users. “Access control strategies are typically classified as: organized (e.g., guards), mechanical (e.g., locks), and natural (e.g., spatial definition)” (Crowe 1991, p. 30).

perceived high risk of being seen. “Surveillance strategies are typically classified as

organized (e.g., police patrol), mechanical (e.g., lighting), and natural (e.g., windows)”

(Crowe 1991, p. 30).

Urban Tourism and Safety

The few existing studies that examine security measures and FOC provide mixed results. Some studies even show an increase in FOC with security awareness (Barbaret & Fisher, 2009; Williams & Ahmed, 2009; Ditton, 2000; Nelson, 1998). More recently, Gill & Spriggs (2005) undertook a major evaluation of CCTV at 14 sites across England and Wales. Overall results showed people did not feel safer after the installation of CCTV and arguably fear can only be reduced when citizens are aware that cameras are in place. Those who were more aware of the cameras were more worried about crime, not the opposite, suggesting that this may be due to the way in which the assumed need for crime prevention measures is indicative of a high localized crime rate

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Research has shown that a well-lit area is perceived to be less dangerous than one that is dark (Nasar & Fisher, 1993). A meta-analysis of street lighting evaluations in both the United Kingdom and United States, found that lighting reduced both crime and fear (Farrington & Welsh, 2002). Evans, Fyfe, and Herbert (1992), Atkins et al (1991) and Ramsay & Newton (1991) found that lighting reduced fear, but not crime.

an increased presence and interaction between the police and the community can raise

public perceptions of safety (Pizam, Tarlow, and Bloom 1997; Tarlow 2000)

Public Awareness on Crime Prevention Programme

The limited public awareness of a programme has been one of the barriers to the successful implementation of crime prevention initiatives (Roberts & Grossman 1989). In relation to the problem of limited public awareness, Roberts and Hastings (2007) review public opinion and crime prevention internationally, whereby one of the areas of their review was looking at the recent trends in public awareness of crime prevention . From their findings, Canada and United Kingdom share lower rates of public awareness of the specific crime prevention programmes. Moreover, they found that a study in Canada, based on nationally representative samples of 2000 and 2003 shows a downward trend for awareness whereby approximately 40% reported general awareness of prevention programs (Ekos Research Associates 2000 and 2004a).

There are a number of ways to measure public awareness of crime prevention programs and strategies. The ways the question is addressed can influence the answer. This is in line with a survey conducted for the Alberta Community Crime Prevention Association, which asked a general question to the respondents on whether they are aware of crime prevention strategies (Anderson-Draper Consulting, 2004). From their findings, 60% of the sample are aware, resulting in a high level of awareness.

However, general questions of this nature may reveal more about attitudes than actual awareness, as respondents were not asked to identify the specific crime prevention programmme or strategies of which they were aware (Roberts and Hastings, 2007). Hence, another approach to measure public awareness of crime prevention programme was used by Ekos Research Associates (2001). In addition to the general question, the respondents were asked to name one of the crime prevention programme which they are aware of. Another study by Anuar (2008) which asked the tourists’ awareness of a specific programme, namely the Safe City Programme. Although this measure is similar to a general question, it is more specific to only one crime prevention programme.

Therefore, after considerations on the different approaches to measure respondents’ awareness, the researcher opted the measures undertaken by Anuar (2008) which asked about the specific awareness of the Safe City Programme. However, in response to the question, the respondents will then be asked to rate their awareness level on a number of crime prevention strategies in the Safe City Programme. This approach is taken in order to know about tourist actual awareness on the programme, whereby tourists might be aware of the crime prevention strategies under this programme, but was unaware of the existence of the programme itself.


Wehmeier (1997) defines satisfaction as a good feeling when you got what you expect to get. In the context of tourism, satisfaction is mainly referred to as a function of pre-travel expectations and post-travel experiences (Pizam, Neumann & Reichel, 1978; Chon, 1989; Reisinger & Turner, 2003; Truong & Foster, 2006). According to Reisinger and Turner (2003), when tourist experiences compared to expectations result in feelings of gratification, the tourist is satisfied and leave that destination with good remembrance.

According to Kozak and Rimmington (2000) satisfaction is important to successful destination marketing. Moreover, it is recognized that satisfaction affects destination selection decisions, consumption of goods and services at a destination, and intention to revisit (Kozak & Rimmington, 2000). As a result, customer satisfaction has attracted a lot of attention in the literature due to its potential influence over the behaviour of consumers and their retention (Cronin & Brady, 2000).

Analysis of literature displayed a substantial variation in the number and nature of attributes considered relevant to tourist satisfaction with destinations. Among the attributes of sun and sand products, satisfaction were measured using attributes such as the climate, the beaches, the landscapes, the quality of the hotels, and the safety of the destination (Aguiló et al, 2005; Alegre and Cladera, 2006; Kozak & Remmington, 2000; Mangion et al, 2005; Yoon & Uysal, 2005).

However, a study on tourist expectation and satisfaction on Antalya, which is an urban tourism destination, incorporated 18 attributes which consists of accommodation services, cultural values, food and beverage services, historic sites, nature, appropriateness for family holidays, means of transportation, cleanliness, shopping opportunities, cuisine, cultural and artistic activities, sports activities, conformity to hygiene rules, communication with the local population, reachability of Antalya city and availability of tourist information, personal safety and hospitality to measure satisfaction (Aksu, Ä°çigen & Ehtiyar, 2010).

A study conducted by Opperman (1996) found a significant influence of visit experience and the levels of tourist satisfaction. In a similar study, Master and Prideaux (2000) found a significant influence of age, gender, occupation and previous travel on the satisfaction levels.

Nevertheless, since this study only looks into tourist perception of safety, thus, the researcher will only measure on tourist satisfaction of safety at the destination, since, safety and security are one of the basic expectations of tourists. Moreover, from the researchers review of tourist satisfaction studies on the destination, most incorporate the attributes of safety to measure tourist satisfaction with the destination (Aksu, Ä°çigen & Ehtiyar, 2010; Kozak & Remmington, 2000; Yoon & Uysal, 2005).



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