Temporal and spatial variations of acquisitive and expressive crime occurrences: A case study of Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada

Authors: Su-Yin Tan*, University of Waterloo
Topics: Urban Geography, Temporal GIS, Applied Geography
Keywords: crime, routine activity theory, environmental criminology, temporal patterns, spatial data analysis, victimization
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Wilson B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Routine activity theory suggests that a crime is likely to occur when three elements converge in time and space: a motivated offender, a suitable victim or target, and the absence of a capable guardian who can prevent the crime from happening. Although temporal patterns of crime have been studied in terms of seasonality and longer time intervals, few studies have explored patterns of crime over shorter time periods, such as in the course of a week or within a day. Such temporal patterns of crime may also have a spatial dimension. This study investigates how different types of acquisitive and expressive crimes vary daily, weekly, and seasonally, while exploring the spatial patterns of temporal crime clusters. A case study of Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada is adopted based on crime occurrences from 911 calls reported during 2011-2015. A geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial data analysis approach is adopted to map temporal variations of reported crimes. Results of this research provide strong evidence of distinct differences in the temporal variations of acquisitive versus expressive crimes and that there is a spatial component to such observed patterns. Consequently, this analysis points towards the importance of considering both temporal and spatial dimensions of criminal event data on which crime prevention initiatives may be developed.

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