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A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY TO CRIME: EFFECTS OF RESIDENTIAL HISTORY ON CRIME LOCATION CHOICE

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Many offenses take place close to where the offender lives. Anecdotal evidence suggests that offenders also might commit crimes near their former homes. Building on crime pattern theory and combining information from police records and other sources, this study confirms that offenders who commit robberies, residential burglaries, thefts from vehicles, and assaults are more likely to target their current and former residential areas than similar areas they never lived in. In support of the argument that spatial awareness mediates the effects of past and current residence, it also is shown that areas of past and present residence are more likely to be targeted if the offender lived in the area for a long time instead of briefly and if the offender has moved away from the area only recently rather than a long time ago. The theoretical implications of these findings and their use for investigative purposes are discussed, and suggestions for future inquiry are made.
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Keywords: activity space; awareness space; offender mobility; residential history; routine activities

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law, Enforcement (NSCR)

Publication date: 2010-05-01

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