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Modeling Micro-Level Crime Location Choice: Application of the Discrete Choice Framework to Crime at Places

NCJ Number
Journal of Quantitative Criminology Volume: 26 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2010 Pages: 113-138
Wim Bernasco
Date Published
March 2010
26 pages
This article examines the application of the discrete choice framework to crime location, the offender's choice of where to commit an offense through a review of the discrete choice and spatial choice literature.
Discrete choice recently emerged as a new framework for analyzing criminal location decisions, but has thus far only been used to study the choice amongst large areas like census tracts. Because offenders also make target selection decisions at much lower levels of spatial aggregation, the present study analyzes the location choices of offenders at detailed spatial resolutions: the average unit of analysis is an area of only 18 residential units and 40 residents. This article reviews the discrete choice and spatial choice literature, justifies the use of geographic units this small, and argues that because small spatial units depend strongly on their environment, models are needed that take into account spatial interdependence. To illustrate these points, burglary location choice data from the Netherlands are analyzed with discrete choice models, including the spatial competition model. Figures, tables, and references (Published Abstract)