Behavior Settings

Crime hot spots are chronic illegal behavior settings. You can diagnose their attractors and generators of illegal behavior with Risk Terrain Modeling (RTM), then aim to change the ways these places influence or enable interactions of people that result in repeated crime outcomes. You can mitigate the risk from situational contexts and opportunities for crime that exist or persist at these places.


The focus of crime prevention with RTM turns to the places themselves and is not directed towards people. There’s a synergy from place-based approaches to crime prevention informed by RTM and considerations of criminal behaviors because some settings, or risky places, are likely attracting or promoting these behaviors more than others.


This ‘illegal behavior-setting’ framework incorporates the role of personal preferences for crime. That is, how individual persons select and use the environments that they occupy and the impact this has on crime outcomes. It views behavioral outcomes as a function of a dynamic interaction among people that occurs at places.


RTM-informed ‘risk narratives’ empower you to analyze why human interactions at particular places result in repeated crime outcomes to better understand the situational contexts for crime that routinely occur at high-crime settings.


It’s well known that crimes cluster and hot spots form in risky places. Hot spots are symptoms of chronically problematic areasParticular features of the landscape co-locate or interact to create unique behavior settings for crime.


RTM diagnoses environmental features that connect with crime and that create vulnerable places or persistent hot spots. RTM insights strengthen multi-stakeholder responses to intervene and address the collective influences of environmental features that attract illegal behaviors. This data-informed approach to crime prevention can be led by police departments as part of Risk-Based Policing, or it can be managed elsewhere with the DICE™ program.


There’s compelling evidence to focus on certain types of environmental features at chronically crime-prone places. Get started at

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