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Dangerous Times? A Routine Activities Examination of the Temporal Patterns of Sexual Offenses over Time
Justice Quarterly  (IF4.717),  Pub Date : 2020-12-23, DOI: 10.1080/07418825.2020.1856399
Ashley N. Hewitt, Martin A. Andresen, Eric Beauregard, Patricia L. Brantingham

Abstract

Despite environmental criminologists emphasizing the role that both space and time play in the occurrence of crime, there is still only a small literature on the temporal rhythms of criminal behavior, especially those of sexual violence. Drawing from routine activities theory, this research uses circular statistics to investigate the temporal patterns of 2,260 sexual offenses from a Canadian police database at the seasonal-, monthly-, daily-, and hourly-levels, as well as their consistency over time. Findings suggest that there is a distinct temporal pattern when the unit of analysis is at the seasonal-, monthly-, and hourly-levels, but not at the daily-level. Furthermore, these temporal patterns are relatively consistent from year-to-year. These conclusions support the legitimacy of including a temporal element into current geographically-based sexual offender policies and practices. Pragmatically, these findings may also be used to better inform policing and situational crime prevention efforts to reduce the incidence of sexual crimes.