A Spatial Classification of Criminal Offenders: Moving Beyond Circle Theory with an Agent-Based Model Approach



Campbell, Jared

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This thesis builds a spatial classification of criminal offenders and uses agent-based modeling and spatial analysis to demonstrate the validity of this classification. Existing literature is reviewed for foundation definitions related to the spatial behavior of criminal offenders and for research into spatial types of criminal offenders. Key findings and gaps found in this literature are presented with updated foundation definitions and an updated spatial classification of offenders. An agent-based model is developed as a proof of concept to this spatial classification of offenders and to simulate the emergent behavior of these offender types. The data produced by the agent-based model is used to review Circle Theory and to conduct a spatial analysis of the resulting patterns of criminal offenses. An assessment of Circle Theory is made followed by the first steps in developing a decision tree for classifying spatial types of criminal offenders. These efforts demonstrate the validity of the five proposed spatial offender types; that Circle Theory is fundamentally flawed in its current state but may still have validity in classifying spatial offender types; and that a criminal offender can be spatially classified through an analysis of their criminal offense locations.



Agent-based model, Geographic profiling, Routine activities theory, Commuters and marauders, Serial crime, Criminal spatial behavior