ILSSC At Western Society of Criminology 2018

Complete Thematic Panels Sponsored by ILSSC

Neighborhoods, Land Use, and Crime

Friday, Feb 2, 9:30 to 10:45am, Hilton Long Beach, Atlantic II, 2nd Floor

Are Civil Gang Injunctions Worth It? Evidence from Crime and Housing Values in Southern California

Michelle D. Mioduszewski, University of California, Irvine
Emily G. Owens, University of California, Irvine
John R. Hipp, University of California, Irvine

Despite the growing popularity of civil gang injunctions in California since the late 1980’s, little is known about their effectiveness on crime, and even less is known about their broader social impact on targeted and surrounding communities. This study assesses the impact of all civil gang injunctions on crime and housing prices in the Southern California region, providing some of the first evidence on both the crime reducing benefits of these policies and the costs imposed on affected communities. We utilize a geographic regression discontinuity design and three datasets to answer this question: Zillow housing data, gang injunction attributes and shapefiles, and crime data from the Southern California Crime Study. Focusing on the sharp discontinuity of targeted police enforcement within the gang injunction boundaries, and temporal variation in when the injunctions were imposed, we estimate the impact of these injunctions on local crime, as well as the willingness-to-pay for homes both within, at, and outside the boundary.

Blurring the Lines: The Impact of Public-Private Partnerships on Quasi-Public Spaces

Christopher J. Bates, University of California, Irvine
John R. Hipp, University of California, Irvine
Kelsey Imler, University of California Irvine

This study explores law’s impact on the securitization, resilience, and place-making of quasi- public spaces (e.g., sidewalks) through unique public-private legal entities, Business Improvement Districts (BIDS). BIDs are formal legal organizations operating under public- private partnerships, with businesses and city governance. Previous studies have demonstrated that BIDs reduce not only official reports of crime, but also survey results of victimization in the surrounding residential area (MacDonald et al., 2013). The current study mapped BIDs and their characteristics throughout Southern California. The BID boundaries were integrated with additional novel geographic datasets to assess the impact of regulation on improving the quality of quasi-public spaces. The impact of BIDs are compared and contrasted to matched clusters of non-BID business in the region. The study demonstrates the vital role public- private entities play in organizing and communicating the values of community stakeholders and increasing capacity for neighborhood change.

Spaces Between: Residences, Interstitial Areas, & Victimization Location

Kevin Pedraza, University of California, Irvine
Christopher J. Bates, University of California, Irvine
John R. Hipp, University of California, Irvine

Crime is the convergence of a victim and an offender in space and time (Cohen & Felson, 1970). Opportunities for victims and offenders to converge are spatially and temporally concentrated. The built environment, the physical location of places and the pathways for access, govern spatial opportunities for convergence. Daily routines, time and duration people spend at places and traveling along pathways govern the temporal opportunities for convergence. The current exploratory study utilizes a novel open crime incident dataset to further understand place characteristics that lead to the convergences of victims and offenders. Built environment and sociodemographics characteristics for the victim’s residential location are compared to the characteristics at the crime event location. The study provides a novel perspective in the “journey-to-crime” literature by exploring the similarities and differences of the victim’s residential address, the location where victimization occurs, and the interstitial space between them. The Holy Grail?

Ivette Jimenez, California State University, San Bernardino
Melissa Lizarraga, California State University, San Bernardino
Nerea Marteache, California State University, San Bernardino

In the digital age, where every click, purchase, or activity is systematically-recorded and analyzed, in what appears to be a coordinated fashion, it is surprising to discover how fragmented criminal justice data systems continue to be. This paper reports on efforts to examine the correlation between five different dimensions of train station design and maintenance, and crime around stations of Southern California’s commuter rail system, Metrolink. Collecting data on crimes around this system is challenging, as Metrolink trains operate on seven routes across a six-county, 538 route-mile network, and its stations are located in over 50 different cities. This presentation will detail the steps taken to gather crime data around Metrolink stations, what obstacles were encountered, and how researchers adapted to be able to conduct the study.

There Goes the Neighborhood …: Researching Crime and Communities

Friday, Feb 2, 2:00 to 3:15pm, Hilton Long Beach, Pacific I, 2nd Floor

Census Tracts and Neighborhood Spatial Perception

Benjamin J. Forthun, University of California, Irvine

While neighborhood effects research attempts to capture aggregate environmental and social effects on a variety of outcome measures, the geographic unit of analysis is typically comprised of census tract or block groups generated with very little geographic meaning. Problematic factors surrounding the use of census tracts include issues of geographic scale, proximity, and a wide array of computational issues. Few studies attempt to capture how tracts (often characterized as neighborhoods) align to the boundaries that residents perceive. Using data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey (LA FANS), this study explores individual and tract level factors affecting resident’s Neighborhood Spatial Perception (NSP). Results indicate a broad range of individual and structural correlates of resident NSP, including education, race, fear, collective efficacy, and housing density. Track trends of NSP are then examined, followed by a discussion of how varying perceptions of NSP within and between tracts undermine their utility as a meaningful geographic scale

Holistic Neighborhood Change & Crime in Los Angeles, 2000 – 2010
John R. Hipp, University of California, Irvine
Seth A. Williams, University of California, Irvine

The present study examines the relationship between neighborhood change and change in crime rates across neighborhoods in the city of Los Angeles for the 2000 – 2010 decade. First, we present the results of a latent class analysis based on Decennial US Census tract data used to identify sixteen distinct classes of neighborhood change for the 2000 – 2010 period. These classes are described according to changes in housing dynamics, age structure, racial-ethnic composition and churning, and socioeconomic characteristics. We then use these classes to model change in crime between 2000 and 2010. Additionally, we assess the performance of models using latent classes as predictors versus the more traditional approach of change scores on individual independent variables. We interpret our findings through multiple criminological and sociological theories.

Reconceptualizing Neighborhood Structure in Social Disorganization Theory
Charis E. Kubrin, University of California, Irvine
John R. Hipp, University of California, Irvine
Nicholas Branic, University of California, Irvine

While social disorganization theory has received much empirical support, studies are limited in how they conceptualize and operationalize the structural antecedents of social disorganization. Studies emphasize the individual impacts of poverty, instability, heterogeneity and other structural characteristics by examining their independent effects on neighborhood crime rates. We take a different approach, one that considers how structural forces combine into unique constellations or patterns that vary across communities, with consequences for crime. Combining crime and Census data for neighborhoods in the Southern California region, we conducted latent class analysis, which identified 9 neighborhood typologies based on levels of poverty, instability, and heterogeneity. We then used negative binomial regression models to examine the relationships between these neighborhood classes and crime rates. Beyond finding that socially disorganized neighborhoods have higher crime rates, we find that other neighborhood classes are also (differentially) associated with crime rates.

Presentations by ILSSC Members

Youth and Gangs: Navigating Crime, School, and Community

Friday, Feb 2, 2:00 to 3:15pm, Hilton Long Beach, Atlantic I, 2nd Floor

Role of Institutional Boundaries in Perpetuating a Cycle of Poverty and Crime

Navjyot Gill, University of California, Irvine
According to a recent lawsuit filed by the California Rural Legal Assistance, Dolores Huerta Foundation and other community organizations, the Kern High School District reported 2,205 expulsions, which is more than any other California school district. The lawsuit argues that Latino and African American students were suspended and expelled at higher rates than other students, and school boundaries within the district appear to be drawn along racial lines. Therefore, using mixed-methods approach, this research will examine the role of the Kern High School district boundaries in perpetuating a cycle of poverty and crime, and compare these to police and ward boundaries. The research will examine resource allocation, crime levels and the underlying determinants of crime within each set of boundaries, and assess how the last fifty years have concentrated crime and poverty. If there is unequal distribution of resources and political access, how do these boundaries create areas of concentrated crime and limit opportunities for low-income communities of color and limit social mobility?

Innovations in Crime Analysis

Saturday, Feb 3, 8:00 to 9:15pm, Hilton Long Beach, Mediterranean I, 2nd Floor

“The Cycle of Decline”: A Test of Skogan’s Thesis on the Disorder and Serious Crime Feedback Loop

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.

Preventing and Responding to Crime in the Community and on Campus

Saturday, Feb 3, 9:30 to 10:45am, Hilton Long Beach, Atlantic I, 2nd Floor

Policing the Suburban City: Lights, Sirens, and the Challenges of Contemporary Patrol Work

Rylan Simpson, University of California, Irvine

Patrol work remains at the core of modern policing. Indeed, patrol officers often act as gatekeepers to the broader criminal justice system: tasked with handling calls for service, patrol officers must navigate political, cultural, and policing landscapes to effectively enact subsequent action. Building on existing research, the present work analyzes the routine, and often mundane, challenges of contemporary patrol work. Supplemented by notes collected via ride-alongs with patrol officers, I describe and interrogate themes of practices which excite, frustrate, and motivate officers. I discuss these themes with respect to officer satisfaction, performance, and public-police relations.

Evolving Strategies in Policing

Saturday, Feb 3, 12:45 to 2:00pm, Hilton Long Beach, Pacific II, 2nd Floor

At the Intersection of Typology and Trajectory: Studying Change Among Police Agencies in America

John Hipp, University of California, Irvine
Rylan Simpson, University of California, Irvine

Police agencies in the United States have exhibited considerable change over the past quarter century. Studying such change has been the focus of some empirical work, including our own, whereby we constructed and described typologies of police agencies at various points in time using data from six waves (1993, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2007, and 2013) of the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) data series. Building on our previous, cross-sectional analyses, we employ a series of new longitudinal analyses to analyze within- agency change over a 20-year period. Specifically, we identify and interpret potential trajectories of typological change among American police agencies from 1993 to 2013 using latent class analysis. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings from both theoretical and practical perspectives.