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ROUTINE ACTIVITY THEORY

Routine-activity theory developed in the 1970's to explain variations in victimization survey rates among categories of persons, areas or over time.

Dependent on the notions of life style exposure and opportunity, routine activity theory argues that it is the life styles (ie: their routine-activities) of young males which explains their high rate of victimization compared to seniors.

Routine activity theory argues that it is the changes in routine-activities accompanying the increase in small households and two-income families which has increased the opportunity for property crimes.

Routine activity theory explains crime events as the convergence in time and space of likely offenders and suitable targets in the absence of capable guardians. - (Cohen & Felson 1979)

The Novelty of ‘Cybercrime’ - An Assessment in Light of Routine Activity Theory 
Majid Yar, University of Kent - Discussions of ‘cybercrime’ focus upon the apparent novelty or otherwise of the phenomenon. Authors claim that such crime is not qualitatively different from ‘terrestrial crime’, and can be analysed and explained using established theories of crime causation. One such approach, oft cited, is the ‘routine activity theory’ developed by Marcus Felson and others.

This article explores the extent to which the routine activity theory’s concepts and aetiological schema can be transposed to crimes committed in a ‘virtual’ environment. Substantively, the examination concludes that, although some of the routine activity theory’s core concepts can indeed be applied to cybercrime, there remain important differences between ‘virtual’ and ‘terrestrial’ worlds that limit the routine activity theory’s usefulness.

A Routine Activity Theory Explanation for Women's Stalking Victimizations 
ELIZABETH EHRHARDT MUSTAINE, The University of Central Florida 
RICHARD TEWKSBURY, University of Louisville 
Drawing on surveys administered to 861 university women in nine institutions, this article presents a routine activity theory model for predicting stalking victimization likelihood for women. Using routine activity theory, the model highlights lifestyle behaviors and interactions as predictors of stalking victimization. Whereas routine activity theory often highlights the role of demography and statuses as predictors, this analysis emphasizes the role of women's social interactions and substance use in victimization risk.

Routine Activity Theory And The Risk Of Rape: Analyzing Ten Years Of National Crime Survey Data - Joanne Belknap, University of Cincinnati 
This analysis applies routine activity theory to the risk of rape, using 10 years (1973-82) of NCS data. In addition to univariate analysis describing characteristics of the victimization itself, bivariate analysis and multivariate analysis (discriminant) are employed to assess the risk of rape, comparing 762 rape and attempted rape victims with 2,523 randomly selected non-rape victims. Most characteristics concerning the rape incident itself (e.g., time of day and season) were consistent with routine activity theory. However, the place of occurrence was not. Additionally, discriminant analysis showed that marital status, age, family income, and the number of living units per structure appear to be the strongest predictors of the risk of rape. Unlike most prior research, race was not a factor in the risk of rape, although race was correlated with those factors influencing the risk of rape.

The Challenges of Testing Routine Activity Theory - Skubak, Marie,
Abstract: Routine activity theory (Cohen & Felson 1979) explains crime events as the convergence in time and space of likely offenders and suitable targets in the absence of capable guardians. Although the theory describes characteristics associated with events, no study to date has tested the effective guardianship on crime events. Existing tests of the theory have limitations due to 1) design, 2) level of measurement, 3) level of study, and/or 4) failure to include measures of all theoretical constructs in the test. This poster will present a review of existing tests of routine activity theory, a critique of the operationalization of guardianship, and a framework for future tests of routine activity theory.

Global Warming and U.S. Crime Rates - An Application of Routine Activity Theory 
James Rotton, Ellen G. Cohn 
Two archival analyses were performed to examine the association between annual temperatures and U.S. crime rates. The first was based on area-averaged temperatures in the United States as a whole for the years 1950 through 1999. Box-Jenkins time-series analyses indicated that annual temperatures were associated with assault but not murder rates in analyses that controlled for yearly population, ethnicity, and three economic variables. The second analysis was based on state-centered crime rates from 1960-1998. The results are consistent with a routine activity theory interpretation of everyday and criminal behavior.

Socioecological Models of Automotive Theft: Integrating Routine Activity and Social Disorganization Approaches - Kennon J. Rice, William R. Smith 
This study explores causes of variation in auto theft rates using spatial data with faceblocks as a unit of analysis. An integration of routine activity theory and social disorganization theory is proposed, premised on an empirical basis of interaction effectsand a pattern of automobile theft diffusion. The results show that the integration of social disorganization theory and routine activity theory significantly increases the predictive power of the analyses and reveals several new socioecological implications for how and why auto theft occurs.

EXPLORING THE GEOGRAPHY OF ROUTINE ACTIVITY THEORY:- A SPATIO-TEMPORAL TEST USING STREET ROBBERY - Elizabeth Ruth Groff, Ph.D., 2006, Co-Directed By: Ralph Dubayah, Professor, Geography
David Weisburd, Professor, Criminology and Criminal Justice
The concepts of routine activity theory (RAT) (Cohen and Felson, 1979) are formalized in a computational laboratory representing Seattle, Washington. The computational environment for implementation, Agent Analyst, merges agent-based modeling (ABM) software with geographic information systems (GIS). A strategy for developing activity spaces is implemented and demonstrates how agents can move along existing street networks, and land use patterns can be used to create representational activity spaces. Three versions of a model of street robbery are developed; each version implements a different level of constraints on agent’s routine activities. In one version (Simple), individuals are either at home or not at home. In another, individuals follow a temporal schedule (Temporal). Last, individual’s schedules are both temporally and spatially constrained (Activity Space). A series of experiments are conducted which compare the incidence and spatial pattern of street robbery events from each version.
The results of the experiments provide strong evidence of the important role routine activities play in street robbery events. The addition of temporal and spatio-temporal schedule constraints reduces the incidence and changes the pattern of street robberies. Support for routine activity theory’s premise, as time spent away from home increases street robbery will increase, is found in the Simple and Temporal, but not the Activity Space version of the model.