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Relationships Between Offenders’ Crime Locations and Different Prior Activity Locations as Recorded in Police Data

Understanding the relationships between individual offenders’ crime locations and their prior activity locations is important to enable individual level predictions to support crime prevention and investigation strategies. This study examined a wider range of crimes and ...

Published onAug 02, 2022
Relationships Between Offenders’ Crime Locations and Different Prior Activity Locations as Recorded in Police Data
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Relationships Between Offenders’ Crime Locations and Different Prior Activity Locations as Recorded in Police Data
Relationships Between Offenders’ Crime Locations and Different Prior Activity Locations as Recorded in Police Data
Description

Understanding the relationships between individual offenders’ crime locations and their prior activity locations is important to enable individual level predictions to support crime prevention and investigation strategies. This study examined a wider range of crimes and activity locations than included in previous studies, to determine whether offenders are more likely to commit crime near some types of activity locations than others. Using discrete spatial choice models, we identified relationships between proximity to pre-crime activity locations recorded in a police database (e.g., offenders’ homes, family members’ homes, schools, prior crimes, and other police interactions) and the locations of 17,054 residential burglaries, 10,353 non-residential burglaries, 1,977 commercial robberies, 4,315 personal robberies, and 4,421 extra-familial sex offences in New Zealand. Offenders were generally more likely to commit crime closer to their activity locations than farther away, and closer to those visited more frequently (e.g., home versus family homes) or more likely to impart relevant knowledge about crime opportunities (e.g., prior crimes versus prior victim or witness locations). The observed patterns for different activity locations and crime types broadly support a recently proposed extension to crime pattern theory and illustrate the benefits of differentiating activity location and crime types when examining criminal spatial behaviour. The results have implications for offender risk assessment and management, and geographic profiling in police investigations.

 

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