ⓘ Offender movement


ⓘ Offender movement

Offender movement can be explained by the crime pattern theory, devised by professors Paul and Patricia Brantingham. It helps explain where offenders go to commit their crime and how crime locations are well within an offenders activity space. Notable scholars in this area include Gisela, Jerry Ratcliff and Philip Mielke.


1. Key concepts

  • Awareness space: area within visual range of activity space that contains "opportunity" and triggers.
  • Crime pattern theory: Explains how an offenders movements and crime can be related to their everyday activities.
  • Temporal constraint: an offenders time constraints
  • Activity space: set of nodes and normal paths between them.
  • Personal nods: Places a person frequently travel to and from. Examples include a persons home, school and workplace.
  • Personal paths: Routes we take between our personal nods.

2. Critical developments

Jerry Ratcliffs article entitled: "A Temporal Constraint Theory to Explain Opportunity-Based Spatial Offending Patterns" shows us that a proportion of offending is driven by the availability of opportunities presented in the routine activities of offenders lives. Gisela Bichlers article entitled: "Examining Juvenile Delinquency within Activity Space: Building a Context for Offender travel Patterns" shows how offender travel patterns usually assume that crime locations are well within the offenders activity space.


3. Empirical support

Dr. Bichlers research for her article "Examining Juvenile Delinquency within Activity Space: Building a Context for Offender travel Patterns" included information about places visited by 2.563 delinquent youths residing in Southern California. Most of the juveniles were aged 10 through 17 and referred to the program by school officials, parents, and law enforcement for involvement in delinquency and criminal activity. The study examined delinquent as well as non delinquent hangout locations. Each juvenile was given a survey to establish their personal nods and pathways. Locations were classified as being a regional convergence setting or a local activity node. Access to vehicles has been significantly correlated to delinquency Anderson and Hughes 2009 and distance traveled to crime sites e.g., Snook 2004; Van Koppen and de Keijser 1997. Of the 2.248 youth with usable information: 28 percent of youth sweat walk, skateboard,or bicycle to activity nodes; 64.2 percent use vehicles ; and 7.8 percent use other methods public transportation or a combination of methods. The results showed youth typically travel between 1.5 and 7.8 miles to key activity nodes. Locations visited more frequently generally were closer to the juveniles home. Local activity nodes are under two miles from home whereas, convergence settings are substantially farther 2.4 to 7.8 miles. Distances traveled to movie theaters and shopping facilities show greater variability than the other locations. The youth that sweat spend more time closer to home but youths with cars visit places much further from home. The older youths traveled further away from home. the median distance traveled to school "crime trip" fell between typical travel to local hangouts and travel to other convergence settings.


4. Crime prevention implications

The knowledge from the study can be used to help prevent crime. Natural surveillance is a simple deterrent that anyone can use. It would be helpful to design an area that make it easy for a person to observe the daily activities of others. It makes deviant behavior easier to notice. Controlling access to places with barriers helps prevent crime. Things like doors, shrubs, fences, and gates deny admission and opportunities. Creating a perception among offenders that there is a risk in selecting a target helps. The correct management of an area can reduce crime. Using agents of control and making sure they are noticeably active shows a strong management presence.

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