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Use of a 'Microecological Technique' to Study Crime Incidents Around Methadone Maintenance Treatment Centers

NCJ Number
Addiction Volume: 107 Issue: 9 Dated: September 2012 Pages: 1632-1638
Susan J. Boyd; Li Juan Fang; Deborah R. Medoff; Lisa B. Dixon; David A. Gorelick
Date Published
September 2013
7 pages
This study evaluated crime around methadone treatment centers (MTCs).
Concern about crime is a significant barrier to the establishment of methadone treatment centers (MTCs). Methadone maintenance reduces crime among those treated, but the relationship between MTCs and neighborhood crime is unknown. The study evaluated crime around MTCs. The study evaluated crime around 13 MTCs and three types of control locations: 13 convenience stores (stores), 13 residential points and 10 general medical hospitals. The authors collected reports of Part 1 crimes from 1 January 1999 to 31 December 2001 from the Baltimore City Police Department. Crimes and residential point locations were mapped electronically by street address (geocoded), and MTCs, hospitals and stores were mapped by visiting the sites with a global positioning satellite (GPS) locator. Concentric circular 'buffers' were drawn at 25-m intervals up to 300 m around each site. The authors used Poisson regression to assess the relationship between crime counts (incidents per unit area) and distance from the site. There was no significant geographic relationship between crime counts and MTCs or hospitals. A significant negative relationship (parameter estimate -0.3127, P less than 0.04) existed around stores in the daytime (7 am-7 pm), indicating higher crime counts closer to the stores. The authors found a significant positive relationship around residential points during daytime (0.5180, P less than 0.0001) and at night (0.3303, P less than 0.0001), indicating higher crime counts further away. Methadone treatment centers, in contrast to convenience stores, are not associated geographically with crime. Abstract published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons.