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Adding the Temporal and Spatial Aspects of Routine Activities: A Further Test of Routine Activity Theory

NCJ Number
Security Journal Volume: 21 Issue: 1-2 Dated: 2008 Pages: 95-116
Date Published
22 pages

This study used an existing model of basic street robbery in order to test whether the core premise of routine activity theory (i.e., as time away from home increases so will risk for being a victim of street robbery) held true under different versions of activity spaces.


The findings support the main premise of routine activity theory, i.e., that the shift of routine activities away from home increases rates of street robbery, and it further expands previous research with two major findings. First, support for routine activity theory's core proposition depends on the type of schedule constraints placed on the agents. The findings support routine activity theory's core proposition, but not when the agent's activity spaces are geographically constrained. Second, time and space-time constraints have a different influence on the incidence of street robbery. The existence of time schedules for agents, whether for potential victims or potential offenders, reduces the incidence of street robbery by approximately 77 percent and changes the distribution of street robbery events. This is evidence that limits on time of exposure/opportunity, regardless of where the exposure occurs, reduces opportunities for street robbery. These findings suggest more complex modifications of routine activities theory in terms of crime risk, based on variations in time and space parameters. The tests employed in this study used the same input data and parameters as the previous studies (i.e., the land use and street network of Seattle, WA) in order to provide the basis for the model's setting and agent activity spaces. Four datasets that describe conditions in Seattle were used to inform the activity spaces of agents: total population, total employment, total potential activities, and streets. There are 16,035 nodes in Seattle, and these locations represent places at which a street robbery may occur. 6 tables, 2 figures, and 61 references

Date Published: January 1, 2008