Generative Explanations of Crime: Using Simulation to Test Criminological Theory

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Title Generative Explanations of Crime: Using Simulation to Test Criminological Theory
Author Birks, Daniel James; Townsley, Michael Kenneth; Stewart, Anna Louise
Journal Name Criminology
Editor Wayne Osgood
Year Published 2012
Place of publication United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
Abstract This study demonstrates that computational modeling and, in particular, agent-based modeling (ABM) offers a viable compatriot to traditional experimental methodologies for criminology scholars. ABM can be used as a means to operationalize and test hypothetical mechanisms that offer a potential explanation for commonly observed criminological phenomena. This study tests whether the hypothesized mechanisms of environmental criminology are sufficient to produce several commonly observed characteristics of crime. We present an ABM of residential burglary, simulating a world inhabited by potential targets and offenders who behave according to the theoretical propositions of environmental criminology. A series of simulated experiments examining the impact of these mechanisms on patterns of offending are performed. The outputs of these simulations then are compared with several well-established findings derived from empirical studies of residential burglary, including the spatial concentration of crime, repeat victimization, and the journey to crime curve. The results from this research demonstrate that the propositions of the routine activity approach, rational choice perspective, and crime pattern theory provide a viable generative explanation for several independent characteristics of crime.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Alternative URI
Copyright Statement Self-archiving of the author-manuscript version is not yet supported by this journal. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version or contact the author[s] for more information.
Volume 50
Issue Number 1
Page from 221
Page to 254
ISSN 1745-9125
Date Accessioned 2012-02-10; 2012-08-07T23:33:16Z
Research Centre ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security; Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance
Faculty Arts, Education and Law
Subject Criminological Theories
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1

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