Objectives: To examine patterns in the timing and location of incidents of maritime piracy to see whether, like many urban crimes, attacks cluster in space and time.Methods: Data for all incidents of maritime piracy worldwide recorded by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency are analyzed using time-series models and methods originally developed to detect disease contagion.Results: At the macro level, analyses suggest that incidents of pirate attacks are concentrated in five subregions of the earth’s oceans and that the time series for these different subregions differ. At the micro level, analyses suggest that for the last 16 years (or more), pirate attacks appear to cluster in space and time suggesting that patterns are not static but are also not random.Conclusions: Much like other types of crime, pirate attacks cluster in space, and following an attack at one location the risk of others at the same location or nearby is temporarily elevated. The identification of such regularities has implications for the understanding of maritime piracy and for predicting the future locations of attacks.
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