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Role of the street network in burglars' spatial decision-making

Frith, MJ; Johnson, SD; Fry, HM; (2017) Role of the street network in burglars' spatial decision-making. Criminology , 55 (2) pp. 344-376. 10.1111/1745-9125.12133. Green open access

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Abstract

Explaining why crime is spatially concentrated has been a central theme of much criminological research. Although various theories focus on neighborhood social processes, environmental criminology asserts that the physical environment plays a central role by shaping people's activity patterns and the opportunities for crime. Here, we test theoretical expectations regarding the role of the road network in shaping the spatial distribution of crime and, in contrast to prior research, disentangle how it might influence offender awareness of criminal opportunities and the supply of ambient guardianship. With a mixed logit (discrete choice) model, we use data regarding (N = 459) residential burglaries (for the first time) to model offender spatial decision-making at the street segment level. Novel graph theory metrics are developed to estimate offender awareness of street segments and to estimate levels of ambient guardianship, distinguishing between local and nonlocal guardianship. As predicted by crime pattern theory, novel metrics concerning offender familiarity and effort were significant predictors of residential burglary location choices. And, in line with Newman's (1972) concept of defensible space, nonlocal (local) pedestrian traffic was found to be associated with an increase (decrease) in burglary risk. Our findings also demonstrate that "taste" preferences vary across offenders, which presents a challenge for future research to explain.

Type: Article
Title: Role of the street network in burglars' spatial decision-making
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1745-9125.12133
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1111/1745-9125.12133
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 The Authors. Criminology published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Society of Criminology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1527140
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