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Exploring the impact of population density on journey‐to‐crime in cases of stranger sexual assault and stranger homicide

Almond, L, McManus, MA, Hankey, N, Trevett, N and Mee, R (2022) Exploring the impact of population density on journey‐to‐crime in cases of stranger sexual assault and stranger homicide. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling. ISSN 1544-4759

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The purpose of this research is to further understanding of how environmental factors impact on the distance an offender travels from their home to their crime scene - the so called ‘journey-to-crime’ (JTC.). Currently, Geographic Profilers rely on relatively generic JTC research to form inferences about the likely distance travelled by an offender, and may be missing the opportunity to make a more bespoke assessment which takes these factors into account. 1186 cases of female stranger sexual assault (Study 1) and 124 cases of stranger homicide (Study 2) were analysed. Euclidean measurement of distance was provided from the offender's recorded home to 3 crime site locations: (1) the initial contact with victim, (2) the assault/murder, and (3) the victim release/body disposal. Each crime site location was coded according to: (a) population density and (b) urban or rural. Initial analysis examined the median distance travelled from an offender's residence to the three different crime site locations. Significant findings for stranger sexual assaults indicated that the initial contact location was significantly further from an offender's residence compared to the sexual assault and victim release location. This was not replicated for stranger homicide offences. Both sexual assault and homicide cases revealed that the distance travelled to the ‘initial approach’ location did not differ according to population density, or whether the location was urban or rural. Regarding ‘sexual assault’ locations, offenders were found to travel significantly further from their home to attack their victim in low population density and rural areas. Results showed that both sexual assault and homicide offenders travelled significantly further from their home to the ‘victim release/body disposal’ site in low population density areas and rural areas. These findings have important, practical applications for investigations, allowing Geographic Profilers to provide more bespoke inferences about an offender's journey to crime.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1602 Criminology; 1701 Psychology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Divisions: Justice Studies (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2022 09:13
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2022 09:15
DOI or ID number: 10.1002/jip.1598
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17507
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