ILSSC at Western Society of Criminology Conference 2017

ILSSC researchers are excited to share cutting-edge research at the Western Society of Criminology Annual Conference 2017.

Friday, February 10th Presentations

Michelle Mio will present “The Effect of Marijuana Medicalization on Property Crime” in Icon A at 9:30am-10:45am



This paper assesses the impact of medical marijuana legalization on property crime in California using Synthetic Control Group methods. Synthetic Control Group models extend difference-in- difference estimation for treatment effects. A synthetic control group is constructed to approximate California had it not medicalized marijuana. The state of California is designated as the treatment group, and states that have not passed similar legislation form the donor pool from which the control group is constructed. Overall, results show medical marijuana laws have a negative effect on property crime. Results and implications for specific property crime types including burglary and larceny will be further discussed.


Chris Contreras will present “Long Predicted: California and Marijuana Legalization 2016” in Icon E at 2pm-3:15pm



This paper examines the details and contours of the 2016 California ballot referendum to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in the state. Specifically, the paper examines the nature of
organizations, and frames and arguments, in support of November 2016’s Proposition 64. This is
presented alongside the analysis of the presence (or absence, or shrinking) of well-funded and
effective opposition groups and frames. The paper seeks to determine how certain frames and
appeals became salient in California in 2016, after defeat of a similar referendum in 2010, and the passage of legalization measures in four other American states.


Chris Contreras will present “Drug Activity and Neighborhood Rates of Crime: A Spatiotemporal Examination” in Icon B at 5pm-6:15pm



Although Goldstein’s (1985) seminal piece on the drugs-crime nexus has been a mainstay in the drugs and crime literature, communities and crime studies in criminology have largely neglected and left under-theorized how drug activity and crime may be related across time and space. We build on the literature on the drugs-crime nexus in the following ways. Using Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Part I and Part II point incident data provided by the Miami-Dade Police Department, we estimate longitudinally the monthly and cumulative lagged impact that drug activity has on neighborhood crime at the block-level in Miami-Dade County, Florida. What’s more, we test the extent to which the violence produced in blocks with more drug activity spills over into adjacent blocks, implying a spatial diffusion process, which heretofore has been unexplored-and hence, untheorized-in prior literature on the drugs-crime nexus. Moreover, we assess whether the larger social context moderates the drugs-crime relationship. In light of our findings, implications and avenues for future research will be discussed.


Saturday, February 11th Presentations

Dr. Charis Kubrin will present “Are Immigration and Crime Related? A Meta-Analysis” in Icon B from 9:30am-10:45am.



Immigration is a vigorously debated public policy issue. Stripped of ideological differences, resolution to this debate seems simple: examine the body of scholarship on the relationship between immigration and crime and arrive at whatever logical conclusion the evidence supports. Yet, because there are notable differences in designs, results, and conclusions reported in prior immigration-crime studies, extracting a clear takeaway message from this body of research may not be so simple. This study seeks to cut through these noted differences with the goal of improving clarity and understanding of the immigration-crime relationship in macro-social units. Drawing from more than 50 studies and 500 effect-size estimates, meta-analytic methods are used to systematically and quantitatively assess the direction, magnitude, and variability in the immigration-crime relationship. Contrary to arguments suggesting that immigration leads to increased crime rates, results indicate that the overall average immigration-crime association is negative; but the association is very weak.


Rylan Simpson will present “Cops in California: Identifying, Describing and Interpreting Patterns in Department Typologies” in Icon B from 12:30pm-1:45pm



The present research utilizes annual data from six waves (1993, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2013) of the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) data series in order to trace the history of policing in Southern California. Using a combination of factor analysis, latent class analysis, and GIS, we identify typologies of police departments within the region (e.g., high/low community policing; high/low militancy; high/low officer diversity; etc.), and then trace the diffusion of these typologies across space and time. Our results reveal a number of temporal and spatial patterns of interest. We discuss these patterns with respect to both crime and public- police relations.