Criminology,72 (Summer, 1981), 727-742.
One of the greatest shortcomings of victimization research has been the failure to understand
the behavioral context within which crimes occur. The routine activities of citizens are widely
viewed as explaining in part who falls victim to crime. The relatively low rates of victimization
reported by the elderly are commonly attributed to their generally circumspect behavior, which
seems to grant them less exposure to risk. People also vary in the extent to which they take
specific precautions, such as installing special locks or alarms, to avoid falling victim. Those
encouraging community crime prevention efforts have acted on the presumption that these
activities yield positive benefits. Yet a close reading of the research on victimization fails to
support most of these assumptions. Most studies of crime-related behavior have been under
conceptualized and have employed inadequate measures, hence have not yielded reliable
findings with regard to the personal significance of what people do.
Using Advance Letters in RDD Surveys: Results of Two Experiments. Survey
Research, Volume 33, 2002, 1-2.
In telephone surveys with list samples, it is common practice to send respondents a letter in
advance of the call to explain the purpose of the study. The assumption is that the advance
letters lend legitimacy to the study and increase the likelihood that the respondent will
cooperate. In response to steadily declining response rates in RDD surveys and refusals that
typically come before interviewers are able to explain that it is a research call, we decided to
look at the effect of sending advance letters to households for which an address could be
identified in RDD surveys. In this article, we present the results of two experiments to assess
the effect of advance letters on response rates.