ARTICLE: Geography of Sexual Assaults before/during/after COVID

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Joel Caplan

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Mar 12, 2023, 3:25:37 PMMar 12
to risk-terrain-modeling
New article by Lersch and Hart: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2023.102050

Does routine activity theory still matter during COVID-19 restrictions? The geography of sexual assaults before, during, and after COVID-19 restrictions


Abstract
On March 10, 2020, the Governor of the State of Michigan, USA, declared a state of emergency in response to COVID-19. Within days, schools were closed; in-person dining was restricted; and lockdowns and precautionary stay-at-home orders were issued. These restrictions dramatically impacted the mobility of offenders and victims through space and time. As routine activities were forced to change and crime generators were closed, did hot spots and risky locations for victimization change as well? The purpose of this research is to analyze potential shifts in high-risk areas for sexual assaults before, during, and after COVID-19 restrictions. Using data from the City of Detroit, Michigan, USA, optimized hot spot analysis and Risk Terrain Modeling (RTM) were used to identify critical spatial factors for the occurrence of sexual assaults before, during, and after COVID-19 restrictions. The results suggested that hot spot areas for sexual assaults were more concentrated during the COVID timeframe, compared to the Pre-COVID timeframe. While blight complaints, public transit stops, points of sale for liquor, and the locations of drug arrests were consistent risk factors for sexual assaults before and after COVID restrictions, other factors, such as casinos and demolitions, were only influential in the COVID period.






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Joel M. Caplan, Ph.D.
Web: www.jcaplan.com
Twitter: @JoelCaplan

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