Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Robert Sharpe

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The importance of repeat victims as an effective target for crime prevention measures has been widely recognised. Many have studied repeat victims of property crimes, but few have studied repeat victims of personal crimes and their spatial distribution. This study used 1996 and 1997 crime data from the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) in Ontario, Canada and focused specifically on domestic-abuse-related crimes and repeat victims of those crimes. Various methods of mapping and analysis were used to better understand the spatial distribution of those crimes and vulnerability of the victims. Standardised crime rates and crime density were calculated. Thematic and dasymetric mapping were used to visualize the crime data. A hot spot analysis was performed as well as correlation analyses of the crime data with selected socio-economic characteristics. Problems relating to the geocoding, denominators used in calculations, small area of some spatial units, data representation, and ecological fallacy were documented. The different mapping and analysis methods used identified similar anticipated trends in the data. The various techniques consistently highlighted the city centres as pockets of high domestic-abuse-related crime activity. There were also pockets outside those areas, anomalies that resulted from data and denominator problems, and likely other problems that should be further explored in future research. The trends uncovered are however more reflective of the police data than they are of the reality of domestic abuse. The bias found in the data limits the type of analysis it can support. Nonetheless significant findings resulted from this study, and recommendations were made on how to minimize the bias in the data and still be able to extract valuable information. Domestic abuse is a widespread problem, even more so than it appears as available data is not complete. Prevention efforts should therefore be geared to the general population to raise awareness of the problem and of the resources available to victims for help.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season