published: 04 November, 2020
written by: Sophie Curtis-Ham, Wim Bernasco, Oleg N. Medvedev, and Devon Polaschek

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“This [article] extends Crime Pattern Theory, proposing a theoretical framework which aims to explain how offenders’ previous routine activity locations influence their future offen[s]e locations. The framework draws on studies of individual level crime location choice and location choice in non-criminal contexts, to identify attributes of prior activities associated with the selection of the location for future crime. We group these attributes into two proposed mechanisms: reliability and relevance. Offenders are more likely to commit crime where they have reliable knowledge that is relevant to the particular crime. The perceived reliability of offenders’ knowledge about a potential crime location is affected by the frequency, recency[,] and duration of their prior activities in that location. Relevance reflects knowledge of a potential crime location’s crime opportunities and is affected by the type of [behavior], type of location and timing of prior activities in that location. We apply the framework to generate testable hypotheses to guide future studies of crime location choice and suggest directions for further theoretical and empirical work. Understanding crime location choice using this framework could also help inform policing investigations and crime prevention strategies.

“The location of crime is not random; as we elaborate in this paper, offenders’ decisions about where they commit crime follow predictable patterns, that reflect decision-making processes common to human spatial [behavior] more generally. In the context of criminology, understanding these processes at the individual level enables predictions that can inform policing strategies: where might a given person offend next? Who is more likely to have committed crime in that location? Much has already been done to advance our understanding of these processes. [At its foundation], Crime Pattern Theory explains that offenders commit crime where crime opportunities coincide with their ‘awareness space’ around ‘activity nodes’; the places they learn to know during everyday activities…”

This article is continued in great detail here:
A framework for estimating crime location choice based on awareness space | Crime Science | Full Text (

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