Security Journal

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 18–36 | Cite as

The spatial dependency of crime increase dispersion

  • Jerry H Ratcliffe
Original Article


A number of analytical techniques (such as the Gini coefficient and the Lorenz curve) can identify unequal distributions in crime frequency among sub-areas within a study region; however, these tools are often aspatial and say nothing about the relationships between spatial units. Using dispersion analysis, a technique that measures the relative dispersion of a crime increase across a region allows for the identification of particular spatial units that are sufficiently influential to drive up the overall jurisdictional crime rate. In this article, a combination of the order of areal units from a dispersion analysis with a measure of the local level of spatial association is used to develop a tool that can identify clustered areas of emerging crime problems. The identification of these second-order spatial processes may be beneficial to police departments and crime prevention practitioners who are interested in the identification of statistically significant clusters of emerging crime hotspots. The process is demonstrated with an example of robbery rates in police sectors of Philadelphia, PA.


crime dispersion spatial association spatial dependency robbery Philadelphia 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerry H Ratcliffe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Criminal JusticeTemple University, 5th Floor Gladfelter HallPhiladelphiaUSA

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