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Hot Spots of Juvenile Crime: A Longitudinal Study of Arrest Incidents at Street Segments in Seattle, Washington

NCJ Number
Journal of Quantitative Criminology Volume: 25 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2009 Pages: 443-467
Date Published
December 2009
25 pages
In order to determine whether juvenile crime in Seattle, WA, has been concentrated in certain geographic areas ("hot spots"), this study identified crimes for which a juvenile was arrested at street segments in the city, as well as the stability and variation in juvenile crime.
The study concludes that the "hot spots" paradigm (crime tends to be concentrated at specific geographic locations) has significant relevance to juvenile crime. Using crime incidents in which a juvenile was arrested as a measure, the study found significant clustering of juvenile crime at certain locations in the city. The data also showed a significant degree of stability in juvenile arrests at particular locations over time. There was preliminary support for routine activity theory (Cohen and Felson, 1979) regarding its emphasis on the convergence in time and space of suitable targets and motivated offenders. The areas where juvenile arrests occurred most often tended to be locations where juveniles tended to engage in various activities. The data analyzed consisted of reported arrests of juveniles in Seattle for the period 1989 through 2002. Seattle was selected as the target city because the Seattle Police Department is among a small group of police agencies that kept a relatively long history of official data in a computerized format. Seattle was also chosen because it included a diverse population and significant levels of crime during the study period. The geographic unit of interest was the street segment, which is defined as "the two sides of a street between two intersections." Among the official data, arrest reports provided the most accurate data on the ages of suspects. Arrest reports were linked to incident reports in identifying crime incidents in which at least one juvenile offender was arrested. 4 figures, 3 tables, and 126 references

Date Published: December 1, 2009