Offender as Forager? A Direct Test of the Boost Account of Victimization

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Recent research has demonstrated that burglary clusters in space and time, resulting in temporal changes in crime hotspot patterns. Offender foraging behavior would yield the observed pattern. The offender as forager hypothesis is tested by analyzing patterns in two types of acquisitive crime, burglary and theft from motor vehicle (TFMV). Using a technique developed to detect disease contagion confirms that both crime types cluster in space and time as predicted, but that the space–time clustering of burglary is generally independent of that for TFMV. Police detections indicate that crimes of the same type occurring closest to each other in space and time are those most likely to be cleared to the same offender(s), as predicted. The implications of the findings for crime forecasting and crime linkage are discussed.

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