Street crime is a predominately male crime in terms of victimisation. Smith (2003) concluded that three-quarters (76%) of all victims are male (1).


In general, the street crime victim is most likely to be 16 to 20 years old (23%), closely followed by 11 to 15 year olds (22%) (2). Smith (2003) also noted that there is a “significant minority” of older victims (61 years and older) that are being victimised by young offenders (3).


Metropolitan Police data on personal robbery also suggests that younger people are increasingly being victimised: 11-20 year old victims increased threefold between 1993 and 2003 (4).


For females, the most vulnerable age category for street crime is 20-24, whereas males are most likely to be victimised between the ages of 15-19 (5). However, when over 61, women are much more likely to be victimised (14%) than men of the same age (2%) (6).


There is a large variation within the country in the average ages of victims: For example, victims are more likely to be 16 years old or younger in Stockport (46%), but 60 years old or older in Blackpool (15.4%) (7). This variation in age most likely reflects the difference in the local population’s age structure, because this is obviously where the offenders draw their victims from (8).


As with age, the victim’s ethnicity usually reflects no more than the local demography (9), although in Smith’s study (2003), the vast majority of victims were white. However, the London Underground saw the highest proportion of Asian victims (21%), and Lambeth and Birmingham the highest proportion of black victims (16% and 13% respectively.




• In 2005-6, theft from the person (incorporating snatch and stealth theft) was most likely to occur on the street (20%), in a shop/supermarket (16%), or on public transport (13%) (10). Other theft of personal property occurred most frequently at work (24%), in another public building (17%) or inside a pub (14%) (11).


• The most vulnerable time period for theft from the person to occur is on a weekday (58%) and in the daytime (70%), but particularly the afternoon (45%) (12).


  1. Smith, J. (2003) The nature of personal robbery [online]. Home Office Research Study 254. London: Home Office. Available from: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk [Accessed 12th December 2007].
  2. Ibid., at p. 18.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid., at p. 20.
  5. Tilley, N., Smith, J., Finer, S., Erol, R., Charles, C. and Dobby, J. (2003) Problem-solving Street Crime: Lessons from the Street Crime Initiative. London: Home Office, p. 26.
  6. Smith, J (2003) Op. Cit., p.20.
  7. Ibid., at p.19.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Hallsworth, S. (2005) Street Crime. Cullompton: Willan; Smith, J. (2003) Op. Cit.
  10. Home Office (2007) Crime in England and Wales 2005/06: Supplementary Tables: Nature of burglary, theft, criminal damage, vehicle and violent crime (Table 3.02). Available from: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk [Accessed 12th December 2007]
  11. Ibid., at Table 3.03.
  12. Ibid., at Table 3.01.