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date: 25 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Many questions about offender decision making are answered by analyzing data from secondary sources, which include police records and other law enforcement sources, but also full population registries containing data on birth, death, family composition, schooling, employment, and social and health service usage. Although secondary data are not collected for research purposes, they have a number of advantages over regular survey data. This chapter discusses the use of secondary data, using as examples two types of offender decisions: whether or not to offend (explored in developmental and life course criminology) and where to offend (explored in geographic and environmental criminology). These are decisions that can fruitfully be studied from a rational choice perspective.

Keywords: secondary data, population registry, criminal justice data, life course criminology, geography of crime

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