FAMILY MATTERS: EFFECTS OF FAMILY MEMBERS’ RESIDENTIAL AREAS ON CRIME LOCATION CHOICE

Authors


  • We thank Astrid Patty and Peter Versteegh of the The Hague Police Service for providing crime and offender data. We also thank Zoë Driessen for her help with the data cleaning, as well as Editor-in-Chief Wayne Osgood and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback. The research leading to this study received funding from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research under the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme Vidi [452–12–004].

Abstract

According to crime pattern theory, offenders are likely to select crime locations within their awareness space. Previous studies have shown that offenders often commit crimes within their current and former residential areas and in areas they previously targeted. However, offenders’ awareness spaces obviously consist of more locations that potentially influence their crime location choices. This study examines the importance of the residential areas of offenders’ family members. Most offenders visit their families at least occasionally and consequently get familiar with the areas in which their families live. It is hypothesized that family members’ residential areas are at increased risk of being targeted. Unique data were used to reconstruct residential histories of the parents, siblings, and children of 7,910 offenders who committed 19,420 offenses. The results of discrete spatial choice models showed that residential areas of family members are indeed at increased risk of being targeted. Current familial residential areas had stronger and more consistent effects than had former familial residential areas. Effects were strongest for the residential areas of offenders’ children compared with those of their parents and siblings. The residential areas of male and female family members affected the crime location choices of male and female offenders equally.

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