Routine Activities and Sexual Assault: An Analysis of Prevention Techniques Utilized by Colleges and Universities in the United States

Amy Cass, University of Delaware

Direct contact predatory crimes are illegal acts in which an individual definitely and deliberately takes or damages the person or property of another. The structural changes in routine activity patterns can have an effect on the three minimal elements of direct contact predatory crimes: a motivated offender, a suitable target, and the absence of capable guardians. According to Henson & Stone (1999), the college campus is the most typical environment for the convergence of these three elements. Thus it is hypothesized that techniques and programs that reduce the number of suitable targets and motivated offenders as well as increase the appearance of capable guardians will create lower sexual assault rates on campus. This study analyses data from 12 four-year post secondary institutions in the United States with a total enrollment of over 1,000. Using stratified random sampling, 3472 students were interviewed regarding victimization. Additionally, mail-back surveys were sent to campus officials addressing aspects of campus security and crime prevention programs / services available. Hierarchical linear models are utilized to show how school-level routine activity patterns affect individual-level victimization.

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Updated 05/20/2006