Research has consistently found that a small number of repeat victims account for a disproportionate share of crimes and that the risk of repeat crime is highest shortly after the preceding incident, dissipating within a few months. This finding has important implications for prevention efforts, informing highly focused interventions. Very little research on repeat victimization, however, has been conducted in the United States. This study analyzes repeat victimizations for metal thefts in Indianapolis, Indiana over a 2-year period. The findings indicate that metal theft is a prevalent and costly property crime and provide moderate support for previous findings on repeat victimization. Each new victimization increases the odds of another incident, and the risk of repeat victimization is highest shortly after the initial crime.
The documentary film Scrappers, co-directed by Brian Ashby, Ben Kolak, and Courtney Prokopas, is a vérité portrait of Oscar and Otis, two metal scavengers who “search for a living with brains, brawn and battered pickup trucks.” The film encompasses several emerging themes bearing on contemporary crime, media, and culture, including the growing popularity of an American post-industrial aesthetic, the blurring distinction between film—particularly documentary—and social science, and the recent trend of metal theft, which has risen as one of the most prevalent property crimes in the first decade of the 21st century. This interview with the co-directors elaborates on these themes.