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Crime at Places and Spatial Concentrations: Exploring the Spatial Stability of Property Crime in Vancouver BC, 2003–2013

Abstract

Objectives

Investigate the spatial concentrations and spatial stability of criminal event data at the micro-spatial unit of analysis in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Methods

Geo-referenced crime data, 2003–2013, representing four property crime types (commercial burglary, mischief, theft from vehicle, theft of vehicle) are analyzed considering crime concentrations at the street segment and street intersection level as well as through the use of a nonparametric spatial point pattern test that identifies the stability in spatial point patterns in pairwise and longitudinal contexts.

Results

Property crime in Vancouver is highly concentrated in a small percentage of street segments and intersections, as few as 5 % of street segments and intersections in 2013 depending on the crime type. The spatial point pattern test shows that spatial stability is almost always present when considering all street segments and intersections. However, when only considering the street segments and intersections that have crime, spatial stability is only present in recent years for pairwise comparisons and moderately stable in the longitudinal tests.

Conclusions

Despite the crime drop that has occurred in Vancouver, there is still spatial stability present over time at levels suitable for theoretical development. However, caution must be taken when developing initiatives for situational crime prevention.

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Notes

  1. Mischief most often represents some form of property damage or graffiti, but may also include disorder. This crime type is also the most sensitive to police reporting and patrol activities and should be interpreted with caution.

  2. http://data.vancouver.ca/datacatalogue/crime-data.htm.

  3. The 100-block is both sides of the street in between two intersections, the same definition for the street segments used by David Weisburd and his colleagues.

  4. Often in the spatial analysis literature 50 repeated samples are used (Davis and Keller 1997). However, early research on Monte Carlo experiments by statisticians showed that as few as 20 repeated samples would provide good results (Hope 1968). We use a 200 repeated random sample for the purposes of being conservative and to provide convenient cut-off values for the confidence interval.

  5. https://github.com/nickmalleson/spatialtest.

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Correspondence to Martin A. Andresen.

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Andresen, M.A., Linning, S.J. & Malleson, N. Crime at Places and Spatial Concentrations: Exploring the Spatial Stability of Property Crime in Vancouver BC, 2003–2013. J Quant Criminol 33, 255–275 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10940-016-9295-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10940-016-9295-8

Keywords

  • Crime at places
  • Spatial stability
  • Spatial point pattern test