Routine Activities Theory and Victimization

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Routine activities theory, crime and victimization

A theory of crime events, routine activities theory, focuses on the motivation to commit the crime. Thus, study on the theory is aimed at the research and prevention of crime. This theory brings forth the suggestion that an organization of routine activities within the confines of society creates opportunities for crime. Routine activities such as routes to or from work and school, groups over which people socialize or even shops people often frequent tend to frequently influence where, when and to whom the crime occurs. It is plausible to note that routines make crime low risk and easy. Since opportunities vary over time and among people, the likelihood of crime also varies. Therefore, routine activities theory informs prevention strategies by altering opportunity structures responsible for criminal events.

When the routine activities theory is applied at the individual level, it helps explain why a person is subjected to victimization by outlining how his or her lifestyle or individual routines exposes him or her with situations conducive for crime. Unlike the lifestyle theory which conceives risk in its probability, the routine activities theory describes the event of victimization. According to routine activities theory, victimization occurs where three distinct elements occur – the motivated offender, an attractive victim and the absence of capable guardianship. For example, youth may be exposed to physical or sexual assault in clubs. A youth’s victimization risk may be influenced by their routine activities of spending time at sporting events, crowded venues and entertainment joints (Tilley, 2015). Where the youth converge in space and time, it is imperative to note that motivated offenders also patronize such establishments. A youth physical stature relative to adults make them suitable targets.


Tilley, M. (2015). The Role of Lifestyles and Routine Activities on Youth Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Victimization.

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