Victim/Offender Relationships at the Ecological and Individual Level: A Study of Aggravated Battery Offenders and Victims in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Jerry Daday, University of New Mexico
Lisa Broidy, University of New Mexico
Cameron Crandall, University of New Mexico

ABSTRACT
Prior testing of lifestyle exposure and routine activity theory suggests that victims and offenders of crime have similar demographic characteristics and lifestyles (Cohen & Felson, 1979; Dobrin, 2001; Hindelang et al., 1978; Lauritsen et al., 1991; Miethe & Meier, 1993, 1994; Sampson & Lauritsen, 1990; Singer, 1981; Wolfgang, 158). Research also suggests that these offenders and victims live in socially disorganized neighborhoods with weak social institutions and fragmented social networks, potentially leading to inadequate informal and formal social control mechanisms, and subsequently higher crime rates (Sampson et al., 2002). Lifestyle exposure, routine activity, and social disorganization theories suggest that one of the primary factors that increase a person's chances of both offending and victimization is his/her proximity to potential offenders in high crime areas. This research uses data on all of the aggravated battery incidents, victims, and offenders in Albuquerque, New Mexico during the 2001 calendar year to examine a range of factors that are likely to shape similarities and differences between victims and offenders. First, this research explores the aggregate level, spatial, and structural dynamics of aggravated battery incidents. Here we examine variables across neighborhoods in rates of aggravated battery incidents and the distribution of offenders and victims. We also examine in detail the neighborhood characteristics that shape these distributions. After looking at ecological factors that contribute to similarities and differences in rates of incidents, victimization and offending at the neighborhood level, this research explores the similarities and differences between these aggravated battery victims and offenders at the individual level by examining: 1) their demographic characteristics; 2) their known medical utilization at New Mexico's only Level 1 Trauma Center, 3) their known criminal histories, and finally 4) their known criminal victimization histories. Collectively, these data will provide a comprehensive understanding of the victim/offender relationship for individuals involved in aggravated battery incidents. We conclude by outlining the implications of these findings for lifestyle exposure, routine activity, and social disorganization theories.

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Updated 05/20/2006