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The Journey to Crime: Victims and Offenders Converge in Violent Index Offences in Chicago

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In Chicago, most non-lethal violence occurs close to the home of the victim or offender. This research describes the distance between the home of the victim and offender and their meeting in a violent crime. Analysis includes all UCR Index criminal sexual assaults, robberies, and aggravated assaults recorded by the Chicago Police in 1998. Little evidence is found for a zone of reduced crime around the home address of the offender. Predatory violence was most likely to occur in neighbourhoods where many offenders resided. Women were much more likely to be attacked close to their and the offender's home than men. Distance, location, and neighbourhood reflected the routine activities of victims and offender as they converged in a violent incident.

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  1. Rossmo in personal communication found that the buffer was only true for serial offenders. When incidents rather than offenders are summarized, there is no buffer effect.

  2. The number of commercial robberies in this analysis is very small. However, the analysis is limited to incidents that had a known offender. Arrest of a commercial robbery offender is rare.

  3. Because they are not linked, all victim and offender addresses are counted for this analysis. It is not known if the same address represents the same person.


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This research was primarily funded by a grant from the Joyce Foundation. Some analysis was also done under a contract to Northwestern University for evaluation of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy. Technical development was supported by a research leave granted by Loyola University Chicago. Close co-operation with the Chicago Police Department was essential for the project. The analysis is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not reflect those of any of these agencies or the Chicago Police Department. Thanks to Alfred Blumstein for his suggestion to analyse incidents at the victim and/or offender's address separately.

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Block, R., Galary, A. & Brice, D. The Journey to Crime: Victims and Offenders Converge in Violent Index Offences in Chicago. Secur J 20, 123–137 (2007).

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