"All of these aspects are linked to the age of a burglar in our formulation.This allows us to implement different behavioral theories and use particular information obtained directly from offenders, like the so-called 'individual offending frequency' considered in criminology." Because behavioral hypotheses related to repeat and near-repeat victimization limit a model's customizability, Saldaña et al.
In a new article, researchers present a nonlinear model of urban burglary dynamics that accounts for the deterring effect of police presence and emphasizes timing of criminal activity.
As with most crime, the highest rates of burglary occur in urban communities since large metropolitan areas generally boast more concentrated wealth.
consider general functions for the recurrence rate (tendency of burglars to commit a crime) and victimization rate (rate at which houses are robbed).
"Contrary to previous models where repeat and near-repeat victimization theories are widely considered, our model is compatible with different scenarios," Ripoll said.
Some are agent-based, others utilize differential equations, and still others account for the effect of police presence.
These models suggest that residential burglars prefer revisiting previously-burgled houses -- or those with similar architecture -- because they are already familiar with layout, security features, and availability of goods.
In the authors' model, a lower house vulnerability leads to a higher degree of co-offending.
The aforementioned assumptions imply a predator-prey type relationship between burglars and vulnerable homes.
"Our model puts the emphasis on when -- rather than where -- the burglaries will take place and on the type of victimized houses, represented by their 'age,'" Avinyó said.
A burglar's age is the amount of time since his most recent offense, while a house's age is the amount of time since it was last burglarized.