The Routine Activities of Youth: The Importance of Place and Time in Understanding Violence in and Around Schools

Caterina Gouvis, The Urban Institute

The study of places has recently gained prominence as a subject for study by criminologists. Routine activities theory and rational choice theory suggest where there is opportunity, there can be crime. This paper will summarize the findings of a research study designed to test whether temporal aspects of youth activities mediate the relationship between opportunity factors and personal victimization in and around schools. Victimization was examined by time of day and day of week for a 168 hour week (within the periods of the school commute, school day, late night, and weekends). The dependent variable was defined as the victimization rate for person crimes on the blocks where the schools are located. The rates were derived using incident-based data for all person offenses recorded by the Prince George's County Police Department for the school year 1999-2000. Independent variables included indicators to represent three main constructs: physical place, human guardianship, and potential offenders.

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Updated 05/20/2006