Tarleton profs author paper on garage sale crime

Tarleton State University

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Research by three Tarleton criminal justice faculty members has resulted in one of the first scholarly papers on garage sale crime.

Dr. James Vardalis, department head, Dr. Kendra Brown, assistant professor, and Shannon Waters-Bland, instructor at Tarleton’s Southwest Metroplex in Fort Worth, are the authors of “Opportunity Crime and the Great American Garage Sale” published this month in the Journal of Safer Communities.

To complete the study, the researchers mailed surveys to people holding garage sales in the Fort Worth area and then analyzed 109 completed and returned surveys.

Vardalis said the research suggests that criminal behavior is more frequent at the weekend home site sales than originally thought.

Other key findings include:
• Most garage sales (85 percent) are held at a single family home;

• Most garage sales averaged over 100 attendees, with two or fewer supervisors overseeing the sale;

• About 27 percent of sale attendees attempted to gain entry into the home (with varying reasons, such as needing to use the restroom or telephone);

• Almost 50 percent of sales experience groups of people arriving together and quickly spreading out, causing difficulty for the sellers to observe everyone;

• About 16 percent of respondents reported attendees changing prices on items;

• More than 40 percent of people holding the sale reported theft during the sale;

• Almost 24 percent of attendees asked if the sale holder had any guns or weapons they wanted to sell.

While the research had some limitations, such as small sample area and low response rate, Vardalis said the findings are important and lend themselves to further study.

After reviewing the findings, he added, the Fort Worth Police Department, in conjunction with the researchers, developed a flier on garage sale crime prevention tips that will be included in garage sale permits material.


Tarleton State University
A member of The Texas A&M University System

Contact: Joe Michael Feist

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Tarleton profs author paper on garage sale crime - Media Relations - Tarleton State University