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date: 19 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

From the perspective of criminology, crime can be viewed in two ways. The first focuses on understanding an individual's propensity to commit crimes, or what is known as criminality. The second focuses on the criminal event—the convergence in space and time of law, offender, target, and situation—and assumes that this convergence is critical and in fact, creates the criminal event. This perspective emphasizes the importance of understanding how offenders find criminal targets. The process of locating a target for criminal action is termed “target search.” This article examines the theory of target search and considers the fundamental assumptions of crime pattern theory. It then discusses the components of target search theory, revealing four forms of criminal events involving different forms of target search: proximity events, opportunistic events, intelligence-led target searches, and purposive target searches.

Keywords: criminology, crime, criminality, criminal events, target search theory, crime pattern theory, proximity events, opportunistic events, intelligence-led target searches, purposive target searches

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