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Community-Level Impacts of Temperature on Urban Street Robbery

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 39 Issue: 6 Dated: November/December 2011 Pages: 463-470
Evan T. Sorg; Ralph B. Taylor
Date Published
December 2011
8 pages
This is the first intra-urban examination of community-level links between the prevalence of street robbery and temperature, and it determined whether community socioeconomic status (SES) and crime-relevant land uses strengthened or weakened the impact of temperature on street robbery.
The study found that the number of robberies in a community increased when temperatures were higher and also when residents had lower socioeconomic status. The effects of temperature were stronger in higher SES communities; this finding supports previous research on factors in property-crime prevalence, but differs from previous findings on factors in assault. Support for the integrated model stems from the finding that the prevalence of commercial land use and the presence of subway stations were associated with heightened temperature impacts on street robbery. The impact of community-level fixed effects and random effects of temperature on the prevalence of street robbery persisted when controlling for land use and community structure; the random effects depended, in part, on both of these factor categories. These findings have implications for community planning and informal resident management of places of concentrated street robberies, as well as planning for seasonal police deployments related to temperature. The study collected data for Philadelphia census tracts (n = 381), monthly street robbery counts, and temperature data for 36 consecutive months; these data, combined with census and land-use data, were analyzed with multilevel models. 2 tables, 1 figure, and 55 references