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Examining the extent to which repeat and near repeat patterns can prevent crime


Published online on


Policing: An International Journal, Volume 41, Issue 5, Page 608-622, October 2018.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the extent and variation in the estimates to which crime can be prevented using patterns of repeats and near repeats, and whether hotspot analysis complements these patterns. Design/methodology/approach Crime data for four study areas in New Zealand are used to examine differences in the extent of burglary repeat and near repeat victimisation. Hotspots of burglary are also created to determine the extent to which burglary repeats and near repeats spatially intersect hotspots. Findings The extent of repeats and near repeats varies, meaning there is variation in the estimated prevention benefits that repeat and near repeat patterns offer. In addition, at least half of the burglaries repeats and near repeats were not located within hotspots. Research limitations/implications The use of other techniques for examining crime concentration could be used to improve the research observations. Practical implications By showing that levels of repeats and near repeats vary, the extent to which these observations coincide in hotspots offers practitioners a better means of determining whether repeat and near repeat patterns are reliable for informing crime prediction and crime prevention activities. Originality/value The paper is the first known research study that explicitly measures the variation in the extent of repeats and near repeats and the spatial intersection of these patterns within crime hotspots. The results suggest that rather than considering the use of repeat and near repeat patterns as a superior method for predicting and preventing crime, value remains in using hotspot analysis for determining where crime is likely to occur, particularly when hotspot analysis emphasises other locations for resource targeting.