Criminal Events Cluster

The members of this cluster study the behaviour of offenders, victims, bystanders, and law enforcement in the course of potential and actual criminal events. The starting point of the research is that crime takes place in particular situations– not only because of the type of people involved in them or the type of places where they occur – but also because of the behaviour of the people involved. The aim is to describe the way different actors behave during potentially criminal events, explain the causes of their behaviour, and clarify the consequences of their behaviour for the outcome of the event.

Theoretical perspectives

The cluster’s research programme is strongly rooted in theories that focus on situational causes of crime. We particularly draw on theories that emphasize causal mechanisms between different types of actions within criminal events, and compare actions of the same kind of actor across different types of events, including script analysis, symbolic interactionalism, routine activity theory, decision-making theories, and micro-sociological theories.

Research topics

The research topics vary with respect to the type of actor (offender, victim, bystander, law enforcement), the type of criminal event (e.g. robbery, street violence, burglary, shoplifting, cybercrime, terrorism, crowd violence, sexual violence, white-collar crime, abuse, bullying), and behavioural sequences (across and within events).

Data sources

The research is informed by multiple data sources, including footage of crimes captured on cameras (e.g. CCTV), police case files, interviews, and time use surveys on smartphones.

Take a look at the website of the Video violence group.



Cluster members

  • Marie Lindegaard (coordinator)
  • Wim Bernasco
  • Peter Ejbye-Ernst
  • Henk Elffers
  • Stijn Ruiter


Evelien Hoeben (School of Criminal Justice)
Mark Levine (Exeter University)
Lasse Liebst (University of Copenhagen)
Richard Philpot (Exeter University)
Don Weenink (University of Amsterdam)
Camilla Bank Friis (University of Copenhagen)

International collaboration

Cluster members collaborate with research groups of:
Exeter University
University of Copenhagen
Freie Universität Berlin
Griffith University
University of Cincinnati
Rutgers University
and with individual scholars worldwide.

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