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An exploratory network analysis of hot people and places

NCJ Number
Date Published
28 pages

This article examines crime patterns and whether hot-spots of crime have unique profiles of chronic offenders, and crime patterns’ implications for policing strategies.


The authors review evidence suggesting that police can be more effective in addressing crime and disorder when they focus on hot-spots and chronic offenders; they examine the connections between people and places by considering micro-places such as street segments and intersections, and people, as nodes in an interconnected network. The authors also examine whether chronic offenders tend to have a limited set of locations where they congregate, and whether crime hot-spots have unique profiles of chronic offenders. The goal of this research project was to identify if observed patterns can help police by combining targeted enforcement of chronic offenders and hot-spots in one overarching strategy. The authors analyzed data from incident reports in Albany, New York, between the years 2000 and 2013, to connect people to the places where they committed their offenses. Three analyses are presented: the first focuses on people and the places where they commit crimes; the second focuses on places and attempts to identify whether certain places can be characterized by the diversity of offenders; the third analysis focuses on neighborhoods and boundaries, and attempts to identify any meaningful boundaries that might be identified within the data. Research findings suggested that combining person- and place-based strategies are not likely to be as fruitful as each individual strategy, but person- or place-based policing strategies can potentially improve intervention rates by considering either strategy.

Date Published: January 1, 2020