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Abstract

Forest crime mitigation has been identified as a challenging issue in forest management in the United States. Knowledge of the spatial pattern of forest crimes would help in wisely allocating limited enforcement resources to curb forest crimes. This study explores the spatial pattern of three different types of forest crimes: fire crime, illegal timber logging crime, and occupancy use crime in the Salem-Patosi Ranger District of Mark Twain National Forest. Univariate and bivariate Ripley’s K-functions were applied to explore the spatial patterns in crime events, like clustering and attraction among forest crime types. Results reveal significant clustering for each forest crime type and the combined events. Peak clustering was observed at 2.3 km, 2.7 km and 3.6 km for fire, timber and occupancy use crimes, respectively. For better forest crime mitigation, when there is an event of a given forest crime type, monitoring should be intensified around its respective spatial scale of peak clustering to avert future crime events. Significant attraction was observed between i) fire crime and illegal timber logging crime, and ii) fire crime and occupancy use crime, at spatial scales of 0.3 km and 0.2 km, respectively. At the respective spatial scales, occurrence of one type of crime increases the chances of occurrence of another type of crime, thus we recommend allocating available resources accordingly to minimize crime events. Further study could help establish any association of clustering or attraction of forest crimes with different socio-economic and bio-physical factors prevalent in and around the area.