The influence of awareness space on crime location choice

Why do crimes occur where they do? According to Brantingham and Brantingham’s crime pattern theory crime occurs at locations where attractive opportunities overlap with awareness spaces of individuals motivated to commit crime. A person’s awareness space consists of locations where time is spend during daily routines, for example home, school, work, leisure locations or home locations of friends and family. Someone’s awareness space grows and shrinks depending on the frequency, duration and timing of exposure to such places. For example, when a person moves house, his or her awareness space changes considerably.

This research project adds to the existing literature on crime pattern theory by not only studying where people live or have lived, but also other locations where people spend their time, and the relationship between those locations and crime locations. Not only registered data are used for this study. Interviews will be conducted with young people, in which detailed information on their awareness spaces will be obtained, as well as information on places where these youngster came into contact with unsafe situations and illegal behavior. We study the influence of awareness space on crime location choice using discrete spatial choice models.

This research is funded by a VIDI grant of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).





Project members: Wim Bernasco, Marre Lammers, Barbara Menting, Stijn Ruiter

dr. Marre Lammers

About dr. Marre Lammers

Marre Lammers received her Masters degree in Forensic Criminology (with honours) at the University of Leiden in June 2009. From September 2009 until August 2013 she conducted her PhD research at the NSCR. In her PhD thesis she uses linked DNA traces to study the influence of characteristics of the spatial behaviour and the criminal careers of serial offenders on the probability that these offenders will be arrested. Marre obtained her PhD in January 2014. As of September 2013 she has been working as a postdoctoral research fellow at NSCR, conducting research on the influence of awareness space on crime location choice.

Marre is a member of the Empirical Legal Studies Cluster and the Spatial-temporal Cluster.

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