This dissertation presents research that investigated a methodology for evaluating theory through the implementation of a simulation model, examining the role of routine activities in street robbery events.
In this dissertation, the author describes research that examined the spatio-temporal dimensions of human behavior, in an attempt to fill gaps in micro-level data and modeling tools that can capture the dynamic interactions of individuals and the contexts in which those actions occur. The objective of the research was to present a methodology for evaluating theory through the implementation of a simulation model; the outcomes of the experiments were analyzed to discover if they matched what the theory would predict. Specifically, the goal of the research was to determine the role of routine activities in street robbery events. Three versions of a model of street robbery were developed, each one implementing a different level of constraints on agents’ routine activities. In the Simple version, individuals were either at home or not at home; in the Temporal version, individuals followed a temporal schedule; and in the Activity Space version, individuals’ schedules were both temporally and spatially constrained. A series of experiments were conducted comparing the incidence and spatial patterns of street robbery events from each version. Results showed that there is strong evidence of the role of routine activities, and the addition of temporal and spatio-temporal schedule constraints reduced the incidence and changed the pattern of street robberies; support for routine activity theory’s (RAT’s) premise was found in the Simple and Temporal versions of the model, but not the Activity Space version.