Analysis of the Journey to Violent Crime

The question of how people end up at the same place and time, but in the different roles of offender and victim, is one that has intrigued researchers and police. Using funding from the U. S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, ILJ is working to shed light on this complex dynamic by measuring the distance traveled from home address to the location of the incident for both offender and victim. Using violent crimes committed in Washington, D.C., during 2001 and 2002, ILJ staff are measuring travel distance using two different methods: street network and ‘as the crow flies’. These distances will then be analyzed by victim characteristics, offender characteristics, and motive. The relative spatial locations will also be examined to better understand whether certain types of crimes are neighborhood-focused or involve either victims or offenders that do not live within the neighborhood. Finally, the use of innovative cartographic techniques will more effectively represent these spatial relationships. Findings from this research will assist police practitioners with respect to investigations (e.g., aid in refining suspect lists), problem solving, and crime prevention (e.g., by developing richer information about areas where violent crime is concentrated).

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