Defining Cybercrime in Terms of Routine Activity and Spatial Distribution: Issues and Concerns

Troy Smith, Nikolaos Stamatakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


For the last twenty years, there has been an increase in literature on cybercrime due to growing awareness of its impact and economic cost. This literature is filled with debate by authors over the correlation between what has been dubbed cybercrime and ‘terrestrial crime’. Some have claimed that although cybercrime may be a new and distinctive form of crime in principal, it remains essentially like traditional crime. This argument suggests that traditional offenders have merely adjusted their tactics to utilize the advantages that cyberspace offers. However, other scholars argue that the uniqueness of the cyber environment creates key differences between cybercrimes and traditional crimes. These discrepancies can affect the applicability of general criminological theories previously used to explain terrestrial crimes. This research aims to identify the theoretical concerns surrounding the applicability of the Routine Activity Theory (RAT) of crime in cyberspace, highlighting the practical issues related to such application. Prior to this, the present study seeks to define “cybercrime”, as well as provide a comprehensive description of RAT, emphasizing on the correlation between these two concepts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-459
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Cyber Criminology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Crime
  • Cyberspace
  • Routine Activity Theory
  • Spatial Distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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