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The differential impact of physical disorder and collective efficacy: a geographically weighted regression on violent crime

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Abstract

While much of the research on neighborhood crime considers the neighborhood as a whole, this study utilizes spatial analysis techniques to examine how the presence of disorder and collective efficacy create unique pockets of opportunities for criminal behavior within neighborhoods. This spatial perspective reveals how the effect of disorder and efficacy upon crime patterns itself varies across a neighborhood. Physical disorder is measured through systematic social observations and the level of collective efficacy is evaluated through survey responses of neighborhood residents. The indices of disorder and efficacy are compared to crime data from police call logs using geographically weighted regression. Our findings demonstrate a complex spatial relationship between disorder and efficacy. The effects of disorder and efficacy are not consistent across an entire neighborhood, but rather display local variations in small geographical areas within neighborhoods, including some pockets of the neighborhood where the relationships between disorder, efficacy, and crime were contrary to the expected relationships. Based upon these findings, we conclude opportunity is central to understanding crime, and emphasize the role of informal social control in neighborhoods.

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Correspondence to Rachel E. Stein.

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E. Stein, R., Conley, J.F. & Davis, C. The differential impact of physical disorder and collective efficacy: a geographically weighted regression on violent crime. GeoJournal 81, 351–365 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-015-9626-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-015-9626-6

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