A framework for estimating crime location choice based on awareness space

Author: Curtis-Ham, Sophie; Bernasco, Wim; Medvedev, Oleg N.; Polaschek, Devon

Date: 2020

Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Type: Journal article

Link to this item using this URL: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13943

University of Waikato


This paper extends Crime Pattern Theory, proposing a theoretical framework which aims to explain how offenders’ previous routine activity locations influence their future offence 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 behaviour, 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.

Citation: ["Curtis-Ham, S., Bernasco, W., Medvedev, O. N., & Polaschek, D. (2020). A framework for estimating crime location choice based on awareness space. Crime Science, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40163-020-00132-7"]

Copyright: © The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.