Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 201–219 | Cite as

Space–Time Patterns of Risk: A Cross National Assessment of Residential Burglary Victimization

  • Shane D. Johnson
  • Wim Bernasco
  • Kate J. Bowers
  • Henk Elffers
  • Jerry Ratcliffe
  • George Rengert
  • Michael Townsley
Original Paper


Using epidemiological techniques for testing disease contagion, it has recently been found that in the wake of a residential burglary, the risk to nearby homes is temporarily elevated. This paper demonstrates the ubiquity of this phenomenon by analyzing space–time patterns of burglary in 10 areas, located in five different countries. While the precise patterns vary, for all areas, houses within 200 m of a burgled home were at an elevated risk of burglary for a period of at least two weeks. For three of the five countries, differences in these patterns may partly be explained by simple differences in target density. The findings inform theories of crime concentration and offender targeting strategies, and have implications for crime forecasting and crime reduction more generally.


Burglary risk Space–time clustering Cross national comparison Monte-Carlo simulation 



This research was supported by a British Academy International Collaborative Network grant, and additional funding from UCL Futures, NSCR and the Research Incentive Fund at Temple University. Thanks go to the following police forces for providing the data here analyzed: Australian Federal Police (ACT policing), Beenleigh police division (Australia), Dorset police force (UK), Florida police department (USA), Haaglanden police force (Netherlands), New Zealand police force, Merseyside police (UK), and Philadelphia police department (USA). We would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shane D. Johnson
    • 1
  • Wim Bernasco
    • 2
  • Kate J. Bowers
    • 1
  • Henk Elffers
    • 2
  • Jerry Ratcliffe
    • 3
  • George Rengert
    • 3
  • Michael Townsley
    • 1
  1. 1.UCL Jill Dando Institute of Crime ScienceUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR)LeidenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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