When a person wants to purchase drugs, they are not going to randomly choose a location, many factors will impact their location choice. A seller may choose to sell drugs in an area with abandoned buildings and a lack of natural lighting to avoid being seen. A drug buyer may choose a location that is close to other places they frequent such as home or work. However, the proximity to these locations may also cause a co-worker or neighbor to identify them, so they may travel a distance from their home before seeking drugs.
To understand how drug buyers and sellers choose the location to offend, we can use a Journey to Crime (JTC) framework. The JTC is the distance between their home and the location of the crime. Research has generally found that most offenders will travel relatively short distances to commit a crime, this finding is referred to as the distance decay function. Several criminological theories have been proposed to explain why most offenders do not travel far from their home to commit crimes. The most common theories are Routine Activities Theory and Crime Pattern Theory. These theories and their origins will be reviewed in this paper and applied to the JTC for drug offenders. As these theories do not consider the environmental effects on crime opportunities, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design will be integrated to explain additional crime opportunities. This paper will conclude with an example of what type of travel behavior we would expect from drug offenders, based on this integration of theories, using the open-air heroin market located in Rochester, New York.
Criminal Justice (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Department of Criminal Justice (CLA)
Schmitz, Jennifer, "The Journey to Crime for Drug Offenders" (2021). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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