Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 181–200 | Cite as

Offender as Forager? A Direct Test of the Boost Account of Victimization

  • Shane D. JohnsonEmail author
  • Lucia Summers
  • Ken Pease
Original Paper


Recent research has demonstrated that burglary clusters in space and time, resulting in temporal changes in crime hotspot patterns. Offender foraging behavior would yield the observed pattern. The offender as forager hypothesis is tested by analyzing patterns in two types of acquisitive crime, burglary and theft from motor vehicle (TFMV). Using a technique developed to detect disease contagion confirms that both crime types cluster in space and time as predicted, but that the space–time clustering of burglary is generally independent of that for TFMV. Police detections indicate that crimes of the same type occurring closest to each other in space and time are those most likely to be cleared to the same offender(s), as predicted. The implications of the findings for crime forecasting and crime linkage are discussed.


Acquisitive crime Crime hotspots Space–time clustering Foraging Detection 



This study was supported by British Academy research grant LRG 45507. The authors would like to thank Dorset police for providing the data analyzed, and in particular Derek Johnson. The authors would also like to thank (in order of geographic proximity) Kate Bowers, Wim Bernasco, Henk Elffers, George Rengert, Jerry Ratcliffe, and Mike Townsley for discussions on the topic of near repeats.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UCL Jill Dando Institute of Crime ScienceUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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