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«Document Title: Geographies of Urban Crime: An Intraurban Study of Crime in Nashville, TN; Portland, OR; and Tucson, AZ Author(s): Meagan Elizabeth ...»

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The author(s) shown below used Federal funds provided by the U.S.

Department of Justice and prepared the following final report:

Document Title: Geographies of Urban Crime: An Intraurban

Study of Crime in Nashville, TN; Portland, OR;

and Tucson, AZ

Author(s): Meagan Elizabeth Cahill

Document No.: 209263

Date Received: March 2005

Award Number: 2003-IJ-CX-1007

This report has not been published by the U.S. Department of Justice.

To provide better customer service, NCJRS has made this Federallyfunded grant final report available electronically in addition to traditional paper copies.

Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S.

Department of Justice.

This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Geographies of Urban Crime:

An Intraurban Study of Crime in Nashville, TN; Portland, OR; and Tucson, AZ by Meagan Elizabeth Cahill A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the Department of Geography and Regional Development In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy In the Graduate College The University of Arizona 2 0 0 4 This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Get the official approval page from the Graduate College before your final defense.

This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Statement by Author This dissertation has been submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for an advanced degree at The University of Arizona and is deposited in the University Library to be made available to borrowers under rules of the Library.

Brief quotations from this dissertation are allowable without special permission, provided that accurate acknowledgment of source is made. Requests for permission for extended quotation from or reproduction of this manuscript in whole or in part may be granted by the head of the major department or the Dean of the Graduate College when in his or her judgment the proposed use of the material is in the interests of scholarship. In all other instances, however, permission must be obtained from the author.

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To Gordon Mulligan, thank you for the enormous effort you put into making my graduate career a success. I have deeply appreciated the ideas, advice, encouragement, patience, and time you’ve given me throughout my grad school years. I wouldn’t be here if not for you, and it wouldn’t have been as fun without your stories and gossip!

Thanks to David Plane and Brigitte Waldorf, who provided excellent advice, en­ couragement, and education. You are both great professors and advisors and I am glad to have worked with you.

I would also like to acknowledge the National Institute of Justice, who provide the funding to make this project possible.

Finally, to my parents, Lynda Conover and Charles Harrison, and Stanley Cahill and Gayle Sullivan: you have provided an incredible level of support, wisdom, and love. I feel so lucky to have four parents who love me unconditionally, and it has made all the difference in the world. It goes without saying that you are the reasons that I have made it this far. Thank you.

This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Appendix B. Alternative measures of crime and crime profiles.. 128 Appendix C. Geographically weighted regression in ecological stud­ ies of crime................................... 157 This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

List of Figures—Continued Figure C.18. Multiple land use parameter estimates by block group...... 193 Figure C.19. Light rail stop parameter estimates by block group........ 193 Figure C.20. GWR clusters on parameter estimates by block group...... 194 This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.





Understanding the context of crime is key to developing informed policy that will reduce crime in communities. In exploring criminal contexts, this dissertation tests criminal opportunity theory, which integrates social disorganization and routine activ­ ity theories. Methodologically, the dissertation presents unique ways of modeling space in crime studies. Analyses are undertaken in three cities, Nashville, TN; Portland, OR;

and Tucson, AZ, chosen for their similar crime rates and varied demographic and social characteristics.

This dissertation includes three papers submitted for publication. Crime data were collected for nine crimes over the period 1998-2002. Census data, used to create an array of socioeconomic measures, and land use data were also used in the analyses, presented at the census block group level.

The first paper attempts to determine whether certain structural associations with violence are generalizable across urban areas. The idea is tested by first developing an Ordinary Least Squares model of crime for all three cities, then replicating the results for each city individually. The models provide support for a general relationship between violence and several structural measures, but suggest that the exploration into geographic variation of crime and its covariates both within urban areas and across urban areas should be undertaken.

The second paper explores an alternative to crime rates: location quotients of crime.

A comparison of location quotients and rates is provided. The location quotients are then used in a regression modeling framework to determine what influences the crime This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

profile of a place. The results demonstrate the efficacy of simple techniques and how location quotients can be incorporated into statistical models of crime. The models provide modest support for the opportunity framework.

The final paper explores possible spatial variation in crime and its covariates through a local analysis of crime using Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR). Those re­ sults are compared to the results of a ‘base’ global OLS model. Parameter estimate maps confirm the results of the OLS model for the most part and also allow visual inspection of areas where specific measures have a strong influence in the model. This research highlights the importance of considering local context when modeling urban violence.

This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

1.1 Urban geographies of crime The past two decades have seen a growing recognition by policy makers, policing agen­ cies, and researchers that understanding the context of crime—the where and when of a criminal event—is key to understanding how crime can be controlled and prevented.

Consequently, the purpose of the present research is to explore how the geographies of different crimes intersect with the geographies of social, economic, and demographic characteristics in urban places and to develop an understanding of the implications of specific contexts of crime and the spatial relationships between those contexts.

The research presented here will further our understanding of the context of crime by testing the spatial relationships between crime and various neighborhood character­ istics. As such, this research contributes to the environmental criminology literature, the goal of which is an understanding of the criminal event and, among other factors, “the legal, social, psychological, and physical backcloth against which crime occurs.” (Brantingham and Brantingham, 1998, p. 31). The focus, then is the environment in which crime occurs, referred to by various researchers as the backcloth, context, or situation (Brantingham and Brantingham, 1998; Wilcox et al., 2003; Felson, 1998).

Specifically, the focus of this research is on the context of criminal opportunity, a term that will be discussed theoretically below. This concept provides a lens through which macrosocial elements of criminal context can be studied.

This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Considering macrosocial explanations of crime, the present research combines tech­ niques and knowledge from two major fields of study: geography and criminology, and also incorporates public policy findings. Macrosocial levels of explanation look to organizations, systems, structures and cultures of communities for an explanation of differential rates of deviant behavior (Byrne and Sampson, 1986; Bursik, 1988; Short, 1997). This type of research is guided by a search for those characteristics of commu­ nities that are associated with high rates of violence. Macrosocial studies also attempt to discern between levels of crime associated with aggregations of criminal individuals and levels of crime associated with characteristics of the communities themselves that may be criminogenic (Sampson and Laurtisen, 1994). As such, macrosocial studies do not consider individual motivations to commit crimes. These types of studies, how­ ever, can and do include information on individuals in communities, as will be shown in the theoretical discussion. The focus of the present study, however, will be solely on characteristics of places.

Under the umbrella research question: “How do the geographies of different crimes intersect with the geographies of social, economic, and demographic characteristics of urban places?” several sub-questions were developed to guide the exploration of geogra­ phies of crime and environmental context. Using a set of several methods, macrosocial levels of crime will be explored in three different cities: Nashville, Tennessee; Portland,

Oregon; and Tucson, Arizona. The following sub-questions will guide the work:

• Do places and/or neighborhoods specialize in crime, i.e., do certain types of crime cluster together spatially?

This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

• How does crime specialization relate to neighborhood characteristics?

• Are models of crime generalizable across different urban areas (i.e., different

–  –  –

The literature is replete with studies using a variety of methods to determine both the location and character of clusters of crimes (Brantingham and Brantingham, 1997;

Cragilia et al., 2000; Eck et al., 2000; Messner et al., 1999). The methods are in­ creasingly sophisticated, with the development of new techniques for identifying crime “hot spots” (Ratcliffe and McCullagh, 1999) or taking into account the relationships between and among different places and the crime that occurs there. Techniques do exist, however, that improve upon simple point maps (that display crime locations) or rate maps (that display levels of crime standardized by population or another measure) and identify an area’s crime profile, or the particular mix of crimes that dominate dif­ ferent areas. One technique employed here is the development of location quotients, a technique used mainly by economists and regional scientists that has recently been proposed for spatial analyses of crime (Brantingham and Brantingham, 1995, 1997;

Carcach and Muscat, 1998). This technique for identifying an area’s crime profile has been overlooked despite its simplicity and utility to planners and police agencies.

After determining the location and character of different areas of specialization within the study area, the second question will be addressed. Here, the goal is to see if certain neighborhood types are invariably associated with certain clusters of crime types. This question will be addressed through the development of a body of statistical models of crime. Standard ordinary least squares regression models will be developed This document is a research report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice. This report has not been published by the Department. Opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.



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