Advertisement

Mobile Phones and Crime: The Protective Effect of Mobile Network Infrastructures

  • Patrick FelkaEmail author
  • Cristina Mihale-Wilson
  • Oliver Hinz
Revisions

Abstract

Objectives

In this study, we investigate the relationship between mobile networks and crime by exploiting the temporal and spatial properties of crime and the exogenous occurrence of mobile network outages (MNOs) in San Francisco, (CA) from 5th March 2017 to the 24th March 2018.

Methods

We exploit the occurrence of unpredictable and exogenous MNOs to identify how mobile phone usage affects crime. Further, we make use of established macro-level determinants such as weather conditions (temperature, precipitations), public holidays and events, to isolate and quantify how MNOs impact the total amount of crime, violent and property crime, as well other individual major crime categories such as robbery, burglary, theft, vehicle break-ins.

Results

Based on the results of our empirical analysis, we confirm a statistically significant but complex relationship between mobile phone usage and crime. The complexity of this relationship is due to the fact that, depending on the area under investigation (i.e., very dangerous districts vs. zip code areas with rather moderate levels of crime), the crime type assessed (i.e., violent versus property crime), or the coincidence of MNOs with events, the MNOs can sometimes foster and sometimes discourage crime.

Conclusions

This study highlights the necessity of extending the study of crime with a technological dimension of other emerging technologies (e.g., augmented reality and location-based mobile games) on crime. Further, it supports the notion that (1) the maintenance of mobile network infrastructures might be a matter of public interest; and (2) in some cases, mobile phones can be a useful and cost-effective crime reduction measure which is worth to be considered in the process of extending the government's catalog of crime countermeasures.

Keywords

Crime Mobile networks outages Cell phones Protective effect 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work has been co-funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of project C5 within the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1053 -- MAKI.

References

  1. Agnew R, Matthews SK, Bucher J, Welcher AN, Keyes C (2008) Socioeconomic status, economic problems, and delinquency. Youth Soc 40(2):159–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andresen MA, Malleson N (2013) Crime seasonality and its variations across space. Appl Geogr 43:25–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baier CJ, Wright BR (2001) If you love me, keep my commandments: a meta-analysis of the effect of religion on crime. J Res Crime Delinq 38(1):3–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Becker GS (1968) Crime and punishment: an economic approach. Springer, Berlin, pp 13–68Google Scholar
  5. Berk R, MacDonald JM (2008) Overdispersion and poisson regression. J Quant Criminol 24(3):269–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Booth A, Welch S, Johnson DR (1976) Crowding and urban crime rates. Urban Aff Q 11(3):291–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brantingham PL, Brantingham PJ (1984) Burglar mobility and crime prevention planning. Springer, Berlin, pp 77–95Google Scholar
  8. Brown W (2015) Personality and crime. American Cancer Society, Atlanta, pp 1–7.  https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118519639.wbecpx146 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Buonanno P (2003) The socioeconomic determinants of crime. A review of the literature. Working paper, Dipartimento di Economia Politica, Universitá di Milano Bicocca, p 63Google Scholar
  10. Cameron AC, Trivedi PK (2010) Microeconometrics using stata, Revised edn. StataCorp LP, College StationGoogle Scholar
  11. Caminha C, Furtado V (2017) Towards understanding the impact of human mobility on police allocation. arXiv:170407823
  12. Canter DV, Youngs DE (2009) Personality and crime. In: Corr PJ, Matthews G (eds) The Cambridge handbook of personality psychology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/8038/
  13. Caspi A, Moffitt TE, Silva PA, Stouthamer-Loeber M, Krueger RF, Schmutte PS (1994) Are some people crime-prone? Replications of the personality–crime relationship across countries, genders, races, and methods. Criminology 32(2):163–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cerulli G, Ventura M, Baum CF (2018) The economic determinants of crime: an approach through responsiveness scores. Report, Department of Economics, Boston CollegeGoogle Scholar
  15. Chen L, Yan Z, Tang W, Yang F, Xie X, He J (2016) Mobile phone addiction levels and negative emotions among chinese young adults: the mediating role of interpersonal problems. Comput Hum Behav 55:856–866CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cohen LE, Felson M (1979) Social change and crime rate trends: a routine activity approach. Am Sociol Rev 44:588–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cohn EG (1990) Weather and crime. Br J Criminol 30(1):51–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cohn EG, Rotton J (2003) Even criminals take a holiday: instrumental and expressive crimes on major and minor holidays. J Crim Justice 31(4):351–360CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Crutchfield RD, Geerken MR, Gove WR (1982) Crime rate and social integration the impact of metropolitan mobility. Criminology 20(3–4):467–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cullen JB, Levitt SD (1999) Crime, urban flight, and the consequences for cities. Rev Econ Stat 81(2):159–169  https://doi.org/10.1162/003465399558030 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cumiskey KM, Brewster K (2012) Mobile phones or pepper spray? Fem Media Stud 12(4):590–599.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14680777.2012.741893 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Demombynes G, Özler B (2005) Crime and local inequality in South Africa. J Dev Econ 76(2):265–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Di Tella R, Schargrodsky E (2004) Do police reduce crime? Estimates using the allocation of police forces after a terrorist attack. Am Econ Rev 94(1):115–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Egan V (2010) 1.10 Personality theories and offending. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 86Google Scholar
  25. Ehrlich I (1973) Participation in illegitimate activities: a theoretical and empirical investigation. J Polit Econ 81(3):521–565CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fajnzylber P, Lederman D, Loayza N (2002) Inequality and violent crime. J Law Econ 45(1):1–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fella G, Gallipoli G (2014) Education and crime over the life cycle. Rev Econ Stud 81(4):1484–1517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Fleisher BM (1966) The effect of income on delinquency. Am Econ Rev 56(1/2):118–137Google Scholar
  29. Galle OR, Gove WR, McPherson JM (2013) Population density and pathology: what are the relations for man? Perspectives in abnormal behavior. Pergamon general psychology series. Pergamon, Oxford, p 147Google Scholar
  30. Gottfredson MR, Hirschi T (1990) A general theory of crime. Stanford University Press, Redwood CityGoogle Scholar
  31. Halpern D (2001) Moral values, social trust and inequality: can values explain crime? Br J Criminol 41(2):236–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Harries K (2006) Property crimes and violence in United States: an analysis of the influence of population density. Int J Crim Justice Sci 1(2):24–34Google Scholar
  33. Harrison C (2016) Reports of AT&T outages stir frustration on web. http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20160713/reports-of-att-outages-stir-frustration-on-web. Accessed 12 Aug 2018
  34. Hartnagel TF (1997) Crime among the provinces: the effect of geographic mobility. Can J Criminol 39:387Google Scholar
  35. Heilbrun AB (1982) Cognitive models of criminal violence based upon intelligence and psychopathy levels. J Consult Clin Psychol 50(4):546CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Heimer K (1997) Socioeconomic status, subcultural definitions, and violent delinquency. Soc Forces 75(3):799–833CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hirschi T, Hindelang MJ (1977) Intelligence and delinquency: a revisionist review. Am Sociol Rev 42:571–587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hirschi T, Stark R (1969) Hellfire and delinquency. Soc Probl 17(2):202–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Horberry T, Osborne R, Young K (2019) Pedestrian smartphone distraction: prevalence and potential severity. Transp Res Part F Traffic Psychol Behav 60:515–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Horrocks J, Menclova AK (2011) The effects of weather on crime. N Z Econ Pap 45(3):231–254Google Scholar
  41. Imrohoroĝlu A, Merlo A, Rupert P (2006) Understanding the determinants of crime. J Econ Finance 30(2):270–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Jacob B, Lefgren L, Moretti E (2007) The dynamics of criminal behavior evidence from weather shocks. J Hum Resour 42(3):489–527CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Janson CG (1982) Delinquency among metropolitan boys. Department of Sociology, University of StockholmGoogle Scholar
  44. Kelly M (2000) Inequality and crime. Rev Econ Stat 82(4):530–539CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Klick J, MacDonald J, Stratmann T (2012) Mobile phones and crime deterrence: an underappreciated link. In: Harel A, Hylton KN (eds) Research handbook on the economics of criminal law. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham. Chap 10, https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:elg:eechap:13467_10
  46. Koper CS (1995) Just enough police presence: reducing crime and disorderly behavior by optimizing patrol time in crime hot spots. Justice Q 12(4):649–672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Landau SF, Fridman D (1993) The seasonality of violent crime: the case of robbery and homicide in Israel. J Res Crime Delinq 30(2):163–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lin MJ (2009) More police, less crime: evidence from us state data. Int Rev Law Econ 29(2):73–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Liska AE, Bellair PE (1995) Violent-crime rates and racial composition: covergence over time. Am J Sociol 101(3):578–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lochner L (2007) Education and crime. University of Western Ontario, London, pp 1–14Google Scholar
  51. Lu X, Watanabe J, Liu Q, Uji M, Shono M, Kitamura T (2011) Internet and mobile phone text-messaging dependency: factor structure and correlation with dysphoric mood among Japanese adults. Comput Hum Behav 27(5):1702–1709CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. McCarthy JD, Galle OR, Zimmern W (1975) Population density, social structure, and interpersonal violence: an intermetropolitan test of competing models. Am Behav Sci 18(6):771–789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. McCollister KE, French MT, Fang H (2010) The cost of crime to society: new crime-specific estimates for policy and program evaluation. Drug Alcohol Depend 108(1):98–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. McMillan JER, Glisson WB, Michael B (2013) Investigating the increase in mobile phone evidence in criminal activities. In: 2013 46th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. IEEE, p 4900–4909Google Scholar
  55. Moffitt TE, Gabrielli WF, Mednick SA, Schulsinger F (1981) Socioeconomic status, IQ, and delinquency. J Abnorm Psychol 90(2):152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Nasar J, Hecht P, Wener R (2007) Call if you have trouble: mobile phones and safety among college students. Int J Urban Reg Res 31(4):863–873CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Nasar JL, Troyer D (2013) Pedestrian injuries due to mobile phone use in public places. Accid Anal Prev 57:91–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Orrick EA, Piquero AR (2015) Were cell phones associated with lower crime in the 1990s and 2000s? J Crime Justice 38(2):222–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Peterson RD, Krivo LJ, Harris MA (2000) Disadvantage and neighborhood violent crime: do local institutions matter? J Res Crime Delinq 37(1):31–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pratt TC, Cullen FT (2005) Assessing macro-level predictors and theories of crime: a meta-analysis. Crime Justice 32:373–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Rhodes WM, Conley C (2008) Crime and mobility: an empirical study. Sage, Beverly Hills, pp 127–148Google Scholar
  62. Sampson RJ, Groves WB (1989) Community structure and crime: testing social-disorganization theory. Am J Sociol 94(4):774–802CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Sampson RJ, Raudenbush SW, Earls F (1997) Neighborhoods and violent crime: a multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science 277(5328):918–924CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Sampson RJ, Laub JH, Wimer C (2006) Does marriage reduce crime? A counterfactual approach to within-individual causal effects. Criminology 44(3):465–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sherman LW, Weisburd D (1995) General deterrent effects of police patrol in crime hot spots: a randomized, controlled trial. Justice Q 12(4):625–648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Skardhamar T, Savolainen J, Aase KN, Lyngstad TH (2015) Does marriage reduce crime? Crime Justice 44(1):385–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Spengler H, Büttner T (2003) Local determinants of crime: distinguishing between resident and non-resident offenders. Report, ZEW discussion papersGoogle Scholar
  68. Stattin H, Klackenberg-Larsson I (1993) Early language and intelligence development and their relationship to future criminal behavior. J Abnorm Psychol 102(3):369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Stratmann T, Thomas DC (2016) Dial 911 for murder: the impact of emergency response time on homicides. CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6140. https://ssrn.com/abstract=2877078
  70. Tarry H, Emler N (2007) Attitudes, values and moral reasoning as predictors of delinquency. Br J Dev Psychol 25(2):169–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Tcherni-Buzzeo M (2019) The great American crime decline: possible explanations. In: Krohn M, Hendrix N, Penly Hall G, Lizotte A (eds) Handbook on crime and deviance, 2nd edn. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  72. Trawick MW, Howsen RM (2006) Crime and community heterogeneity: race, ethnicity, and religion. Appl Econ Lett 13(6):341–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Tseloni A, Thompson R, Grove L, Tilley N, Farrell G (2017) The effectiveness of burglary security devices. Secur J 30(2):646–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. US Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation (1997) Crime in the United States: uniform crime reports. Report, U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of InvestigationGoogle Scholar
  75. Van Koppen PJ, Jansen RW (1999) The time to rob: variations in time of number of commercial robberies. J Res Crime Delinq 36(1):7–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Watts RE (1931) The influence of population density on crime. J Am Stat Assoc 26(173):11–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Wilson JQ, Boland B (1978) The effect of the police on crime. Law Soc Rev 12(3):367–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wooldridge JM (2010) Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data. MIT press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  79. Worrall JL, Kovandzic TV (2010) Police levels and crime rates: an instrumental variables approach. Soc Sci Res 39(3):506–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Wurmser Y (2018) Mobile time spent 2018. https://www.emarketer.com/content/mobile-time-spent-2018. Accessed 19 Aug 2018

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Felka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cristina Mihale-Wilson
    • 1
  • Oliver Hinz
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and Business AdministrationGoethe University FrankfurtFrankfurtGermany

Personalised recommendations