ILSSC at the American Society of Criminology Meeting 2017

Complete Thematic Panels Sponsored by ILSSC

Land Use Change and Neighborhood Change: Consequences for Disorder and Disorganization

Thu, Nov 16, 9:30 to 10:50am, Mariott, Franklin 6, 4th Floor

Chair: Dr. John Hipp

This session includes four papers that adopt longitudinal approaches to exploring the relationship between disorder or disorganization and crime. The temporal scale ranges from months to a couple years to decades in exploring how the change in the social ecology of the neighborhood is related to changes in crime. The studies employ different measures of land use characteristics in exploring these questions.

Crime and the Life Course of Neighborhoods: A Change Would do you Good?

Adam Boessen, University of Missouri – St. Louis
Marisa Omori, University of Miami

Although the vast majority of neighborhood research focuses on static patterns of crime and other social characteristics within neighborhoods, Bursik and Webb (1982) noted nearly 35 years ago that neighborhood dynamics that change over time are key to explaining crime patterns. Surprisingly few studies examine the long-term neighborhood dynamics of neighborhoods, and in this study, we explicitly consider the life course dynamics of neighborhoods. We focus on how economic characteristics and racial and ethnic changes impact our understanding of long-term community crime patterns. To test these ideas, we employ crime and census tract data from 1970-2010, and we estimate a series of fixed effects models. We show that some neighborhood factors appear durable across time in their consequences for crime, while others appear to have “turning points” in differing historical contexts. An implication of our findings is that the factors driving neighborhood crime rates differ depending on the particular characteristic, historical period, and crime type of interest.

Land Use Features, Informal Social Control and Crime: A Longitudinal Study of Neighborhood Dynamics

Rebecca Wickes, Monash University
Renee Zahnow, The Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland
Anthony Kimpton, The University of Queensland
Jonathan Corcoran, The University of Queensland
John R Hipp, University of California, Irvine 

With the recent availability of land use and census data at a fine spatial granularity, studies reveal important cross-sectional relationships between the physical features of the neighborhood and crime. While this research offers important advances, we do not know if changing land use patterns influence mechanisms of informal social control and how this in turn influences crime across time. In this paper we spatially integrate longitudinal data from the census, topographic databases, the Australian Community Capacity Study and the Queensland Police Service for 148 neighborhoods in Australia. We focus our analyses on four categories of land use features: social conduits, crime generators and crime attractors and social wedges. Using multilevel models, and controlling for the sociodemographic context of the neighborhood, we examine whether and how changes in these land use features influence informal social control and violent crime over time.

“The Cycle of Decline”: Testing Skogan’s Thesis on the Bidirectional Relationship between Disorder and Serious Crime

Christopher Contreras, University of California, Irvine
John R Hipp, University of California, Irvine 

Wilson and Kelling’s (1982) highly controversial broken windows theory has spurred a debate, in both academic and policy circles, on the etiology of serious crime and the role of disorder. Regarding the relationship between disorder and serious crime, rather than postulating that disorder causes serious crime, or that the two are spuriously related, we instead posit that disorder and serious crime are inextricably linked in a perpetual feedback loop. Such a framework coheres with Hunter’s (1978) conceptualization of disorder and serious crime’s relationship to fear of crime and Skogan’s cycle of decline. We test this by employing cross-lagged, longitudinal models to unpack the dynamic nature of the disorder and serious crime nexus at the block-level in Houston, Texas. We flexibly assess both the temporal and spatial scale of these processes; this enables us to theorize, as well as assess, spatial spillover effects between disorder and serious crime. Implications and avenues for future research will be discussed.

Examining Violence Experienced by Sex Workers, the Spatial Configuration of Sexually Oriented Massage Parlors in Los Angeles, and Opportunities for Violence Prevention

Douglas Wiebe, University of Pennsylvania
Lois M Takahashi, University of California, Los Angeles
Yeonsoo Baik, University of California, Los Angeles
John J Chin, Hunter College

Sex work, which puts individuals at risk for violence and health risks, has increasingly moved from the streets into indoor venues, such as massage parlors. The growth of the sexually oriented massage parlor industry is traced to heightened enforcement of anti-prostitution ordinances (making street based sex work more difficult) and because of the internet (making customer searching of workers and parlors easier). Though there has been policy concern around sexually oriented massage parlors and an important literature on “red light districts,” scholars still have inadequate understanding of the industry’s current spatial configurations, the locales in urban environments where massage parlors operate, and violence that sex workers experience. Our study aimed to understand the magnitude of this problem and determine whether land use ordinances might create opportunities to intervene and ultimately prevent violence. First, using geocoded data from a masseuse rating website including businesses in Los Angeles County, we conducted spatial and regression analyses of sexually oriented massage parlor location to test for spatial clustering and (2) identify demographic and economic factors associated with geographic clustering. Second, through in-person interviews conducted with 60 sex workers, we gained insight into the frequency and types of violence that workers in this industry experience. We conclude with recommendations for how zoning ordinance enforcement may help achieve violence prevention in this context.

The Consequences of Change for Neighborhood Institutions and Social Control

Thu, Nov 16, 12:30 to 1:50pm, Marriott, Grand Ballroom Salon J, 5th Floor

Chair: Dr. John Hipp

The papers in this panel explore the question of how changes in neighborhoods impact various institutions in those neighborhoods and consequently levels of crime. The institutions studied range from voluntary organizations to the police. The studies also ask whether this change has consequences for the level of social control these neighborhoods can muster. One form of change that is of concern is racial change, and the spatial distribution of that racial change.

Voluntary Organizations and Neighborhood Crime: A Longitudinal Examination of Organizational Presence, Organizational Resources, and Crime Rates

James Wo, University of Iowa

Objectives: Although previous studies have examined whether the presence of voluntary organizations impact neighborhood crime rates, voluntary organizations’ differential capacity to affect crime has been virtually unaccounted for. This study examines the independent effects that the number of voluntary organizations and the total amount of income they possess have on neighborhood crime, over time. Methods: Drawing upon a unique dataset of Los Angeles census blocks from 2000 to 2010, I utilize fixed-effects negative binomial regression to estimate a series of crime models. Results: The number of voluntary organizations and the total amount of income they possess in the focal block, respectively, have no statistical influence on most crime types the following year. Yet, both aspects of voluntary organizations exhibit crime-reducing influences when accounting for their broader spatial impact (within a ½ mile radius of the focal block), and controlling for numerous factors that have been shown to be associated with crime rates. Conclusions: For the number of voluntary organizations, this suggests that increasing the opportunities for residents to utilize organizations can reduce crime in neighborhoods. For the income of voluntary organizations, it appears that increasing organizations’ capacity to reduce crime can translate to lower crime in neighborhoods as well.

Fear and the Formation of Collective Efficacy

Benjamin J. Forthun, University of California, Irvine

Using individual-level survey, and neighborhood-level contextual and social observation data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (L.A.FANS), I extend social disorganization theory by examining the role of fear in understanding the link between neighborhood structure, collective efficacy, and crime. Results indicate that the association between social cohesion and informal control is weakened in neighborhoods with high levels of resident fear. Fear is significantly associated with decreased community efficacy, and it both mediates and moderates the effect of neighborhood disadvantage and disorder on efficacy. Further, the utility of collective efficacy to protect against the effects of adverse neighborhood conditions on crime is compromised in fearful communities. When neighborhood fear is considered, neither collective efficacy nor neighborhood concentrated disadvantage are associated with neighborhood robbery victimization. Fear, however, remains one of the primary correlates of neighborhood robbery victimization. These findings suggest that future research should incorporate resident fear to better understand the character and context of neighborhood organization. Without considering neighborhood level fear, research ignores a key mechanism contributing to both community efficacy and the utility of collective efficacy to ameliorate damaging effects of adverse neighborhood conditions.

Segregation, Inequality and Crime in Australian Neighborhoods

Michelle Sydes,, University of Queensland

Rebecca Wickes, Monash University

Segregation is argued to weaken social controls and undermine a community’s regulatory capacity through mechanisms associated with social inequality and social isolation. However, empirical support for this relationship is far from conclusive. To date, most segregation-crime studies concentrate on segregation patterns at the city level using indices that ignore the spatiality of segregation. In this paper we employ highly spatialized measures of local residential segregation to unpack the relationship between segregation, inequality and crime across 297 neighborhoods located in two Australian cities with differing immigration histories and ethnic compositions. Drawing on survey, census and crime data, we additionally consider the role collective efficacy plays in mediating or moderating the association between segregation, inequality and crime.

Racial/ethnic Change, Minority Threat, and Race-specific Arrests in Cleveland Neighborhoods, 1990 – 2010

Alyssa Chamberlain,, Arizona State University
Lyndsay Boggess,, University of South Florida

Studies examining racial/ethnic transition in neighborhoods have largely focused on the social or structural consequences of change. However, racial/ethnic change may also influence policing outcomes, especially if the racial/ethnic change is perceived as threatening. In neighborhoods that have shifted from a predominantly White residential composition to predominantly Black or mixed, non-White suspects may be arrested at disproportionately higher rates as an exertion of power over an incoming or threatening group. We examine racial/ethnic change over time and space using race-specific arrest rates as an indicator of racial/ethnic (minority) threat. We use arrest data from Cleveland between 1990 and 2010 to test (1) whether changes in the racial/ethnic composition of neighborhoods impact who is arrested, controlling for changes in the underlying crime rate, (2) whether this relationship varies based on how neighborhoods are transitioning (e.g., predominantly Black to White or vice-versa), and (3) the role racial/ethnic shifts in spatially proximate communities may play. We anticipate that minority arrest rates will be disproportionately higher in neighborhoods experiencing more pronounced racial/ethnic change or are surrounded by neighborhoods also experiencing racial/ethnic flux, and that this will be particularly the case in predominantly White neighborhoods undergoing any degree of racial change.

Novel Methods for Measuring the Social Ecology of Crime

Fri, Nov 17, 12:30 to 1:50pm, Mariott, Franklin 11, 4th Floor

Chair: Dr. John Hipp

The four papers in this panel demonstrate recent methodological advances in the study of the social ecology of crime. One paper explores new ways to measure activity nodes, whereas another paper develops a temporally and spatially flexible approach to measuring spatial processes over time. The remaining two papers are examples of recent advances in data collection following subjects spatially and temporally, and describe various new techniques for creating measures of such novel data.

Activity Nodes: Examining the Crime Patterns by Characteristics of Businesses in Place

Young-an Kim, University of California, Irvine

A number of studies have examined the associations between the presence of various types of business facilities and crime, and found that business facilities operate as activity nodes – crime generators and attractors. Although existing studies successfully theorized and revealed the protective/adverse effects of business facilities on crime at places, less attention has been paid to distinguishing the specific characteristics of businesses, and how the patterns of crime at places can vary by them. These characteristics include: (1) type of business, (2) number of employees (as a proxy measure of the magnitude of people moving in-and-out), (3) localized context (e.g., whether it is owned and run by a local entrepreneur or a non-local franchise company), and (4) age of business (e.g., number of years since a business facility has established and started operating). Therefore, this study examines whether there exist distinct effects of businesses on crime by the characteristics suggested above.

Wormholes in Time and Space: Using a Temporal-spatial Cone to Measure Neighborhood Change

John R Hipp, University of California, Irvine

In this project I propose a new approach to measuring the temporal and spatial dimensions of social processes and crime levels. It adopts an approach that uses constant-sized moving average measures over time and over space as units of measurement. The first step in the approach creates constant-sized spatial and temporal units (e.g. ¼ mile buffers based on blocks and 3 month periods based on weekly units). Given the small sample size problem in these units based on this aggregation strategy, I utilize the Fourier expansion approach of McMillen and Dombrow (2001) to temporally smooth the data. I explore the use of different smoothing functions to smooth the data spatially. The approach is illustrated using data on crime incidents and housing sales in Southern California, and shows how the reciprocal effects of housing sales and crime can be modeled with this strategy.

Daytime Mobility of Men on Parole

Christopher Jay Bates, University of California, Irvine
Naomi Sugie, University of California, Irvine
John R Hipp University of California, Irvine

Individuals recently released from prison suffer from compounding disadvantages, such as barriers to employment and limited social contacts. The geographic context where these individuals spend their time has an impact on reentry outcomes. “The Newark Smartphone Reentry Project” utilized an innovative data collection method — passive collection of GPS information—to capture the geographic mobility and exposure of men on parole. This study explores where these individuals spend their time and the frequency of their movements during the day. Activity anchor locations, derived from GPS collection, combined with characteristics of place, such as land use and census sociodemographics, demonstrate the dynamic context of environmental exposure. Furthermore, the GPS data reveal how the daily activity range of men on parole shift over time and with major events, such as employment. The novel analysis of the daytime mobility of men on parole utilized in this study demonstrates why future prisoner reentry scholarship should move beyond simply examining the static residential location of environmental context.

Collective Efficacy, Disorder, and Informal Social Control Perceptions Among Urban Youth

Christopher R Browning, Ohio State University
Eric G. LaPlant, The Ohio State University
Catherine A Calder, Ohio State University
Bethany Boettner, Ohio State University

Theories of collective efficacy and disorder are among the most prominent explanations of social environment effects on crime. Collective efficacy theory focuses on the role of neighborhood structural factors such as poverty, residential instability, and race/ethnic heterogeneity in limiting the capacity of communities to come together on behalf of shared goals, including the informal social control of crime. In this view, neighborhoods high in collective efficacy exhibit more effective joint supervision and socialization of local youth. Disorder approaches emphasize the impact of visible behavioral cues and signals of decline in the urban physical landscape on informal social control assessments. Both social processes are hypothesized to work, in part, through the perceptions of potential offenders. Extant research, however, has yet to examine the association between exposure to areas of varying collective efficacy and disorder and the experience of the social control environment in situ. We employ novel Ecological Momentary Assessments (EMA) of informal social control perceptions among a sample of urban youth (N=1400) from the Adolescent Health and Development in Context (AHDC) study to determine whether variation in exposure to collective efficacy and disorder influences informal social control assessments in real time. The AHDC study involved an in-home survey of youth and their caregivers as well as a one-week period during which the youth carried a smartphone for GPS tracking and answered up to five randomly administered short surveys (EMA) a day. The latter included two items on informal social control perceptions (level of agreement with the following statements: “there are very few rules to follow” and “I can do whatever I want” at the current location). Analyses will investigate associations between aggregate measures of collective efficacy and social/physical disorder at each EMA location and youths’ informal social control perceptions, incorporating a range of location-, day-, and individual-level controls. These analyses will offer the first investigation of the relative impact of collective efficacy and disorder on the informal social control experiences of urban youth in space and time.

Housing, Housing Policy, and Neighborhood Crime Rates

Fri, Nov 17, 8:00 to 9:20am, Mariott, Franklin 7, 4th Floor

Chair: Charis E. Kubrin, University of California, Irvine

This session addresses the housing-crime nexus in communities across the United States. Specific topics of focus include how various land use configurations, including housing, interact to produce crime, how foreclosures impact neighborhood crime rates at various spatial and temporal scales, the relationship between crime rates and home sales prices, and whether crime rates are higher or lower in gated communities. Collectively, the presentations identify key mechanisms of the housing-crime relationship, provide evidence of how housing and housing policy impact local crime rates, and offer theoretical refinements on the housing-crime nexus.

Housing and Crime: How Land Use Context Affects the Relationship between Housing and Crime

Thomas D. Stucky, Indiana University / Purdue University, Indianapolis

Though housing has been a long standing area of focus for researchers of crime, attention has increased in recent years due to attention to land use. This paper explores how various land use configurations interact to produce crime with a special focus on the role of housing. Starting with a literature review of extant research on housing, land use, and crime, the study will explore how various land use and housing combinations affect various kinds of reported crime in the city of Indianapolis, net of other factors.

The Housing Crisis and Crime: Assessing the Dynamics of Foreclosure and Neighborhood Crime

Seth A. Williams, University of California Irvine
John R Hipp, University of California, Irvine

Following the mortgage crisis of 2007-2010, criminologists turned to examine the role of foreclosure in the ecology of neighborhood crime. Most of this research estimates the effect of block group, tract or city foreclosure rates on crime in the years during the crisis, generally finding a positive or null relationship. We contribute to this literature by examining the effects of foreclosure on neighborhood crime contextually at various spatial and temporal scales, asking not only if foreclosure is associated with heightened crime, but if this effect persists over time. We address these research questions empirically for the Southern California region using data from Zillow and the Southern California Crime Study (SCCS).

Home Values and Crime in Los Angeles County: Rethinking Space and Time

Michelle D Mioduszewski, University of California, Irvine

The relationship between home values and crime in neighborhoods is an important one and may provide insight into commonly theorized mechanisms on crime such as residential stability, gentrification, or segregation. One causal direction in this relationship is the effect of crime on home values, and studies that have focused on this question have typically been limited in their ability to measure crime in a spatially precise manner. As a consequence, studies assessing the impact of crime on housing values often measure crime at the Census tract level. This study uses data that is more spatially and temporally precise to examine the relationship between crime and home sales prices in Los Angeles County, California in 2010. Using Zillow data and crime data at the block level, this study shows how crime in the local block and the broader area surrounding that block affect home sales prices at the micro-spatial level. It also tests how changes in the level of crime impact housing sales prices. The study will examine differences in violent and property crimes and will speak to local housing market changes in Los Angeles County. Building on traditional hedonic pricing regression analyses, the current study considers the influence of neighborhood socio-demographic characteristics and characteristics such as institutions, businesses, and property land use. This study bridges hedonic analyses with neighborhood effects and crime research to more fully examine how crime and housing are related.

Communities of Gate Expectations: Gated Communities and Crime in Southern California

Nicholas Branic, University of California, Irvine
Charis E. Kubrin, University of California, Irvine

Gated communities represent a modern housing trend that is quickly gaining prominence across the United States and challenging how researchers typically conceptualize neighborhoods. Gated communities feature distinct characteristics that differentiate them from non-gated neighborhoods, characteristics that likely bear important implications for neighborhood crime rates. For example, gated communities feature physical barriers, including gates and walls, which regulate access into the community and bar opportunities for potential offenders. Additionally, gated community residents may foster shared beliefs, values, and investment in their community that bolster informal social control, further insulating the community from crime. Despite the growing prevalence of gated communities and their potential influence on neighborhood crime rates, few studies examine the relationship between gated communities and crime. The present study extends this body of literature by conducting the first neighborhood-level analysis of gated communities and crime. Examining gated communities across Orange County, CA, we find that gated communities are associated with lower rates of violent and property crime compared to non-gated neighborhoods. These findings highlight the importance of gated communities in shaping neighborhood conditions and as an area for future research.