Crime Places in Crime Theory
Crime and Place: Crime Prevention Studies, 4 (pp. 1-33)
33 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2015
Date Written: July 12, 2015
Criminologists and crime prevention practitioners are increasingly aware of the importance of places of crime. A place is a very small area, usually a street corner, address, building, or street segment. A focus on crime places contrasts with a focus on neighborhoods. Neighborhood theories usually highlight the development of offenders. while place level explanations emphasize crime events. Three perspectives suggest the importance of places for understanding crime: rational choice; routine activity theory; and crime pattern theory. Though these perspectives are mutually supportive, routine activity theory and crime pattern theory provide different explanations for crime occurring at different places. Five areas of research help us understand the importance of places: crime concentration about particular facilities (e.g., bars); the high concentration of crime at some addresses and the absence of crime at others; the preventive effects of various place features; the mobility of offenders; and studies of how offenders select targets. Concern has been expressed that efforts to prevent crime at specific locations will only move it to other, unprotected locations. Recent research suggests that these fears may be exaggerated, and that under some circumstances the opposite effect occurs: instead of crime displacing, the benefits of the prevention efforts diffuse to unprotected locations. This paper concludes with a review of the 14 original articles in this volume.
Keywords: criminology, crime, neighborhood, offenders, crime displacing, prevention
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