Where the Action is in Crime? An Examination of Variability of Crime Across Different Spatial Units in The Hague, 2001–2009
- 1.5k Downloads
To identify how much of the variability of crime in a city can be attributed to micro (street segment), meso (neighborhood), and macro (district) levels of geography. We define the extent to which different levels of geography are important in understanding the crime problem within cities and how those relationships change over time.
Data are police recorded crime events for the period 2001–2009. More than 400,000 crime events are geocoded to about 15,000 street segments, nested within 114 neighborhoods, in turn nested within 44 districts. Lorenz curves and Gini coefficients are used to describe the crime concentration at the three spatial levels. Linear mixed models with random slopes of time are used to estimate the variance attributed to each level.
About 58–69 % of the variability of crime can be attributed to street segments, with most of the remaining variability at the district level. Our findings suggest that micro geographic units are key to understanding the crime problem and that the neighborhood does not add significantly beyond what is learned at the micro and macro levels. While the total number of crime events declines over time, the importance of street segments increases over time.
Our findings suggest that micro geographic units are key to understanding the variability of crime within cities—despite the fact that they have received little criminological focus so far. Moreover, our results raise a strong challenge to recent focus on such meso geographic units as census block groups.
KeywordsThe criminology of place Crime and place Law of crime concentration Crime trends Street segment Hierarchical model
- Bailey TC, Gatrell AC (1995) Interactive spatial data analysis, vol 413. Longman Scientific & Technical, EssexGoogle Scholar
- Braga A, Papachristos A, Hureau D (2012) Hot spots policing effects on crime. Campbell Syst Rev 8(8):1–97Google Scholar
- Brantingham PL, Brantingham PJ (1999) A theoretical model of crime hot spot generation. Stud Crime Crime Prev 8(1):2–26Google Scholar
- Burgess EW (1967) The growth of the city. An introduction to a research project. In: Park RE, Burgess EW (eds) The city: suggestions for the investigation of human behaviour in the urban environment. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (Original work published 1925)Google Scholar
- CBS (2015) Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek/Statistics Netherlands, Den Haag/HeerlenGoogle Scholar
- Clarke RV, Weisburd D (1994) Diffusion of crime control benefits: observations on the reverse of displacement. Crime Prev Stud 2:165–184Google Scholar
- Eck JE, Weisburd D (eds) (1995) Crime and place. Crime prevention studies, vol 4. Willow Tree Press, Monsey, NYGoogle Scholar
- Long JD (2011) Longitudinal data analysis for the behavioral sciences using R. Sage. Thousand Oaks, CAGoogle Scholar
- Lorenz MO (1905) Methods of measuring the concentration of wealth. Publ Am Stat Assoc 9(70):209–219Google Scholar
- Openshaw S (1984) The modifiable areal unit problem. Geo Books, NorwichGoogle Scholar
- Park RE (1967) The city: suggestions for the investigation of human behaviour in the urban environment. In Park RE, Burgess EW (eds) The city: suggestions for the investigation of human behaviour in the urban environment. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 1–46 (Original work published 1925)Google Scholar
- Pierce G, Spaar S, Briggs LR (1988) The character of police work strategic and tactical implications. Center for Applied Social Research, BostonGoogle Scholar
- Rengert G, Chakravorty S, Bole T, Henderson K (2000) A geographic analysis of illegal drug markets. Crime Prev Stud 11:219–240Google Scholar
- Sampson RJ, Morenoff JD (1997) Ecological perspectives on the neighborhood context of urban poverty: past and present. In: Brooks-Gunn J, Duncan GJ, Aber JL (eds) Neighborhood poverty: policy implications in studying poverty. Russell Sage Foundation, New York, pp 1–22Google Scholar
- Sampson RJ, Raudenbush SW (2004) Seeing disorder: neighborhood stigma and the construction of “broken windows”. Soc Sci Q 67(4):319–342Google Scholar
- Slocum TA, McMaster RB, Kessler FC, Howard HH (2005) Thematic cartography and geographic visualization. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River NJGoogle Scholar
- Spelman W (1995) Criminal careers of public places. In: Eck J, Weisburd D (eds) Crime and place: crime prevention studies. Willow Tree Press, Monsey, pp 115–142Google Scholar
- Vold GB, Bernard TJ, Snipes JB (2002) Theoretical criminology. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Weisburd D, Maher L, Sherman L (1992) Contrasting crime general and crime specific theory: the case of hot-spots of crime. Adv Criminol Theory 4:45–70Google Scholar
- Weisburd D, Bernasco W, Bruinsma G (2008) Putting crime in its place. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar