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Theoretical Model of Crime Hot Spot Generation

NCJ Number
Studies on Crime and Crime Prevention Volume: 8 Issue: 1 Dated: 1999 Pages: 7-26
Patricia L. Brantingham; Paul J. Brantingham
Date Published
20 pages
This paper discusses several specific elements of a model of crime hot spot formation, based on human ecology, routine activities theory, lifestyle theory, rational choice theory, and pattern theory, and presents and uses police data from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to illustrate a preliminary theory of hot spot and burning time.
Visual inspection, statistical identification, and theoretical prediction are the three basic ways of identifying crime hot spots. The theoretical approach uses what is known about how setting and routines shape the probabilities that crimes will concentrate in some locations and times and not in others. Crime hot spots are influenced both by the settings that individuals create and by the settings created through legislation and policymaking as well as through basic land use development, transportation, marketing, and social and economic conditions. Crime hot spots are generally understandable when considered in terms of the setting, the normal movement patterns, the distribution of crime generators and crime attractors, the situational characteristics of places, and the content of ecological labels attached to different places. Data on calls for police service in Vancouver over a month demonstrates the usefulness of understanding hot spots for purposes of crime prevention. Figures, footnotes, and 97 references