New Directions in Repeat Victimization Research

Shane D. Johnson, University of Liverpool
Kate J. Bowers, University of Liverpool
Michael Townsley, University of Liverpool
Ken Pease, Jill Dando Institute UCL

ABSTRACT
Research consistently demonstrates that the risk of burglary is elevated following an initial incident of crime, particularly during the first few weeks. Such findings have clear implications for policing and crime prevention, and successful resource targeting strategies have been developed accordingly. However, one drawback with these strategies is that properties are only identified as being vulnerable after they have been victimised on at least one occasion. In the current paper, we will focus on the concept of 'near repeats' which are said to occur when offenders target (different) households that are in close geographical proximity to a previously victimised properties. Using police recorded crime data from both Australia and the UK and, using statistical models developed to examine the spread of infectious diseases, we will demonstrate that consistent with the near repeat hypothesis burglaries do cluster in both space and time. Moreover, the analyses indicate that the degree to which burglaries cluster in this way varies across different types of area. For instance, in contrast to incidents of repeat victimisation and 'hot spots' of crime, space-time clusters appear to be more evident in affluent than deprived areas. The practical implications of these findings for crime prevention resource targeting and future directions for repeat victimisation research will be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006