This study draws on concepts and techniques from epidemiology to examine the ability of routine activities theory to account for the risk of criminal victimization. In particular, the analysis moves beyond the identification of risk factors for victimization to explore how changes to causal factors might affect the risk of victimization in the general population. Data were obtained from the 1988 Canadian General Social Survey. Overall, predictors identified with more traditional methods account for the bulk of this risk, but some are less important for understanding population risk due to the small numbers of people associated with them. Some weak predictors, such as evening leisure activities, may therefore be more useful targets for prevention because they are associated with larger numbers of people. Future research should extend this methodological technique to other situations, including job loss, teen pregnancy, and dropping out of school.
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