Crime in Context: Utilizing Risk Terrain Modeling and Conjunctive Analysis of Case Configurations to Explore the Dynamics of Criminogenic Behavior Settings

Joel M. Caplan, Leslie W. Kennedy, Jeremy D. Barnum, Eric L. Piza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Risk terrain modeling (RTM) is a geospatial crime analysis tool designed to diagnose environmental risk factors for crime and identify the places where their spatial influence is collocated to produce vulnerability for illegal behavior. However, the collocation of certain risk factors’ spatial influences may result in more crimes than the collocation of a different set of risk factors’ spatial influences. Absent from existing RTM outputs and methods is a straightforward method to compare these relative interactions and their effects on crime. However, as a multivariate method for the analysis of discrete categorical data, conjunctive analysis of case configurations (CACC) can enable exploration of the interrelationships between risk factors’ spatial influences and their varying effects on crime occurrence. In this study, we incorporate RTM outputs into a CACC to explore the dynamics among certain risk factors’ spatial influences and how they create unique environmental contexts, or behavior settings, for crime at microlevel places. We find that most crime takes place within a few unique behavior settings that cover a small geographic area and, further, that some behavior settings were more influential on crime than others. Moreover, we identified particular environmental risk factors that aggravate the influence of other risk factors. We suggest that by focusing on these microlevel environmental crime contexts, police can more efficiently target their resources and further enhance place-based approaches to policing that fundamentally address environmental features that produce ideal opportunities for crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-151
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law

Keywords

  • behavior settings
  • conjunctive analysis
  • risk terrain modeling

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