Employing Near-Repeat Patterns for Community-Driven Crime Prevention

A major challenge of crime prevention in policing is the need to ?anticipate the place and time of occurrence.?1 Modern policing tactics have focused on the need to better focus limited resources with a long-term goal of crime prevention rather than simply responding to crimes that have occurred. Central to this goal, researchers have identified the near-repeat phenomenon of crime as a persistent pattern. As such, police agencies can use this knowledge to target limited crime prevention resources.

The term ?near repeat? was first used in 2000 after researcher Dr. Frank Morgan discovered subsequent residential burglaries tended to occur in close spatial proximity to and within one month of initial burglary victims.2 This crime pattern has been compared with the transmission of a communicable disease: not only is the initial burgled home at risk for repeat victimization, but the risk of being burglarized also spreads to nearby households.3 Accordingly, researchers have used epidemiological methods first developed in the 1960s to study the transmission process to confirm a contagion process in residential burglaries.4

Near-repeat patterns have been found for a number of crimes, including residential burglaries, vehicle thefts, shootings, illegal carrying of firearms, and street robberies.5 The specific spatial and temporal parameters of the near-repeat pattern vary among the types of crimes, suggesting the need for interventions that are tailored for both the crime type and its unique near-repeat dimensions.6