Do Street Robbery Location Choices Vary Over Time of Day or Day of Week? A Test in Chicago


Objectives This article examines the hypothesis that in street robbery location choices, the importance of location attributes is conditional on the time of day and on the day of the week. Method The hypothesis is assessed by estimating and comparing separate discrete location choice models for each two-hour time block of the day and for each day of the week. The spatial units of analysis are census blocks. Their relevant attributes include presence of various legal and illegal cash economies, presence of high schools, measures of accessibility, and distance from the offender’s home. Results The hypothesis is strongly rejected because for almost all census block attributes, their importance hardly depends on time of day or day of week. Only the effect of high schools in census blocks follows expectations, as its effect is only demonstrated at the times and on the days that schools are open. Conclusions The results suggest that street robbers’ location choices are not as strongly driven by spatial variations in immediate opportunities as has been suggested in previous studies. Rather, street robbers seem to perpetrate in the environs of cash economies and transit hubs most of the time irrespective of how many potential victims are around.

Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 54(2):244-275