The space/time behaviour of dwelling burglars: finding near repeat patterns in serial offender data

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Whilst analysis of crime for tactical and strategic reasons within the criminal justice arena has now become an established need, predictive analysis of crime remains, and probably always will be, a goal to be desired. Opening a window on this over the last 2 decades, prominent research from academia has focused on the phenomenon of repeat victimisation and more recently ‘near repeat’ victimisation, both firmly grounded in the geography of crime. Somewhat limited to the establishment of near repeat behavioural patterns in whole area data, these can be utilised for crime prevention responses on a local scale. Research reported here however, explores the phenomenon through the examination of serial offending by individual offenders to establish if such spatio-temporal patterns are apparent in the spatial behavioural patterns of the individual burglar, and if so how they may be defined and therefore utilised on a micro rather than macro scale. It is hypothesised that offenders’ responsible for more than one series of offences will display consistency across their crime series within time and distance parameters for their closest offences in space. Results improve upon current knowledge concerning near repeat offending being the actions of common offenders. Testing of the extracted data indicates that offenders maintain personal boundaries of ‘closeness’ in time and space even when actions are separated by significant time spans, creating stylised behavioural signatures appertaining to their use of and movement through space when offending.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-146
JournalApplied Geography
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


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