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Modeling criminal distance decay

NCJ Number
Cityscape Volume: 13 Issue: 3 Dated: 2011
Mike O’Leary
Date Published
38 pages

This article addresses a study of the interactions between the two-dimensional offense distribution that describes how offenders select targets and the corresponding one-dimensional distance decay function. It also presents the calculation of the coefficient of variation for 324 residential burglary series in Baltimore County, Maryland.


These data do not support the notion that the distance decay behavior of an individual offender is governed by a number of common choices for distance decay, including the negative exponential, even allowing for the parameters to vary between offenders. Finally, the article examines geographic patterns for residential burglary in Baltimore County and the finding that, although offenses committed in rural portions of the county are committed by offenders with larger travel distances, it does not appear that this variation can be explained simply by the local population density. (Publisher abstract provided)