As Violence Unfolds: A Space–Time Study of Situational Triggers of Violent Victimization Among Urban

In a study authored by PISC Scholars Beidi Dong, PhD; Christopher Morrison, PhD; Charles Branas, PhD; Therese Richmond, PhD; and Douglas Wiebe, PhD three important issues regarding situational or opportunity theories of victimization are clarified. Issues covered include (1) whether engaging in risk activities triggers violent assault during specific, often fleeting moments, (2) how environmental settings along individuals’ daily paths affect their risk of violent assault, and (3) whether situational triggers have differential effects on violent assault during the day versus night.

It was found that being at an outdoor/public space, conducting unstructured activities, and absence of guardians increase the likelihood of violent victimization at a fine spatial–temporal scale at both daytime and nighttime. Yet, the presence of friends and environmental characteristics have differential effects on violent victimization at daytime versus nighttime. Moreover,individual risk activities appeared to exhibit better predictive performance than did environmental characteristics in our space–time situational analyses.

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