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Biting Once, Twice: The Influence Of Prior On Subsequent Crime Location Choice

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Properties, victims, and locations previously targeted by offenders have an increased risk of being targeted again within a short time period. It has been suggested that often the same offenders are involved in these repeated events and, thus, that offenders’ prior crime location choices influence their subsequent crime location choices. This article examines repeated crime location choices, testing the hypothesis that offenders are more likely to commit a crime in an area they previously targeted than in areas they did not target before. Unique data from four different data sources are used to study the crime location choices of 3,666 offenders who committed 12,639 offenses. The results indicate that prior crime locations strongly influence subsequent crime location choices. The effects of prior crime locations are larger if the crimes are frequent, if they are recent, if they are nearby, and if they are the same type of crime.