GIS and the journey to crime: an analysis of patterns in South Yorkshire
This chapter uses geocoded crime data (from the city of Sheffield, and the towns of Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham) to look at the patterns produced not just by analysing the location of offences but also the residential addresses of offenders and victims and the relationships between the locations linked by offences. As well as using geocoded crime data, we also had access to PNC (Police National Computer) records, the national DNA database, victimisation surveys on two Sheffield council estates and interviewed a stratified sample of prolific Sheffield-based offenders. The research mainly focuses on 'volume crime' which for this purpose was defined as burglary and TWOC (taking without the owners' consent, aggravated TWOC and theft of a motor vehicle). The main findings with regard to the journey to offend are, first that the vast majority of offender movements are relatively short. Second, that much travel associated with crime is not primarily driven by plans to offend but appears to be much more dependent upon opportunities presenting themselves during normal routines. Third, when offenders do travel to offend it is overwhelmingly local in nature. Fourth, even when longer range travel is involved in offending this is mainly in places which have strong traditional connections with the offender's home location. Overall there was little evidence that offender's travelling to offend was significantly increasing compared with the past or that new travel opportunities were changing traditional travel patterns used by offenders. With regard to the journey to victimisation, the main finding was that victimisation was a much more localised phenomenon in high crime residential areas than in low crime areas and that this pattern was as much about victim mobility as offender travel.