Relevance of Routine Activity Variables for Understanding the Spatial Distribution of Residential Burglary and General Outdoor Assault in Dongjak District In Seoul, South Korea
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There are few studies where researchers used South Korean spatial data to examine residential burglary and general outdoor assault. The current study examined the effects of routine activity variables on measures of residential burglary and general outdoor assault in South Korea using police data for these offenses that resulted in arrest from January 2015 to December 2016. The study (1) explored spatial patterns of these crimes, and (2) examined the applicability of routine activity theory, using various regression models. The results revealed that both crimes are spatially clustered. Distance to a subway station, the number of older residents, and the number of restaurants and adult entertainment places were all positively associated with residential burglary, whereas the number of preschool children and the number of high-rise apartments were negatively associated with it. The number of restaurants and adult entertainment places and population size were positively associated with general outdoor assault, while distance to a subway station and population density were negatively associated with it. While most of routine activity variables did not explain these crimes, restaurants and adult entertainment places were significant predictors for both residential burglary and general outdoor assault, meaning that police’ and other interventions are necessary to address these crimes near restaurants and adult entertainment places. Unlike most previous studies that found young population as a significant predictor for burglary and assault, the current study found it to be a non-significant predictor; this may have been due to teenagers in South Korea and the U.S. having different routine activities. Overall, the study found a weak support for routine activity theory, implying that researchers need to consider cultural differences between South Korea and western countries, especially the U.S.