Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


Michael Maxfield

Subject Categories

Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice


electronic device theft; environmental criminology; hot products; transit crime


As mobile technology advances and the demand for WiFi and phone coverage increases, electronic device theft is becoming an international problem in metropolitan public transportation systems. Using transit police reports, this dissertation applies crime opportunity theories to understand which factors increased electronic device theft in Boston subway stations from 2003-2011.

This approach addresses previous studies regarding crime on public transportation, robbery and larceny on subways and electronic device theft - as none have focused on this problem as the theft of a "hot product" within a "hot environment." Negative binomial regression, crime script analysis, sign tests and temporal pattern identification are used.

This study identifies 24 subway stations where electronic device theft is concentrated. The findings suggest that district crime rates and subway station characteristics may help transit police understand why certain stations serve as activity spaces for electronic device theft. It also recognizes "hot times," risky passenger behavior and potential offender tactics. Policy implications and recommendations are discussed.