Violent Crime Statistics

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Behavior and Social Issues, 14, 113-127 (2005). © Brian Christens & Paul W. Speer. Readers of this article may copy it without the copyright owner’s permission, if the author and publisher are acknowledged in the copy and the copy is used for educational, not-for-profit purposes.

PREDICTING VIOLENT CRIME USING URBAN AND SUBURBAN
DENSITIES
Brian Christens1 & Paul W. Speer
Vanderbilt University

ABSTRACT: Violent crime is often studied with individual level variables, using population characteristics as predictors. This study attempts to predict an additional amount of the variability in violent crime using an environmental variable—population density—in a single U.S. city. Data aggregated to the census block group level are used
…show more content…
These data are included in the analyses that follow, in order to isolate the unique predictive power of population density.
The sociodemographic characteristic data covers age (ratio of males aged 15-24 to males aged 35-44 years), percent Hispanic (any race), female-headed households with children under 18 (population adjusted), employment (percent of workers over the age of
16 that are employed), percent African-American, median household income, percent of households receiving public assistance income, and percent of households that are owner occupied. While it is true that these traditional predictive variables account for a significant amount of variance in violent crime, they all provide information about the residents of an area without regard for the environmental characteristics that influence behavior. The addition of a spatial variable to this model is useful both for building

118

PREDICTING VIOLENT CRIME

Figure 2. Early city boundary.

theory, and for taking analysis beyond the individual level, thereby providing support
…show more content…
Regoeczi, W. C. (2003). When context matters: A multilevel analysis of household and neighborhood crowding on aggression and withdrawal. Journal of Environmental
Psychology, 23(4), 451-464.
Regoeczi, W. C. (2002). The impact of density: The importance of nonlinearity and selection on flight and fight responses. Social Forces, 81(2), 505-530.
Repetto, T. A. (1974). Residential crime. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.
Roncek, D. W. (1993). Mapping crime: An inescapable but valuable task for intracommunity analysis. In Block, C. R., and Block, R. L. (eds.), Questions and Answers in Lethal and NonLethal Violence. National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC, pp. 151-161.
Schuessler, K. (1962). Components of variation in city crime rates. Social Problems, 9(Spring),
314-323.
Shichor, D., Decker, D. L., & O’Brien, R. M. (1980). The relationship of criminal victimization, police per capita and population density in twenty-six cities. Journal of Criminal Justice, 8,
309-316.
Speer, P. W., Gorman, D. M., Labouvie, E. W., Ontkush, M. J. (1998). Violent crime and alcohol availability: Relationships in an urban community. Journal of Public Health Policy, 19, 303318.
U.S. Census Bureau (2000). Metropolitan Area Population Estimates for July 1, 1999

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