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Variable Impacts of Public Housing Community Proximity on Nearby Street Robberies

NCJ Number
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 50 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2013 Pages: 163-188
Cory P. Haberman; Elizabeth R. Groff; Ralph B. Taylor
Date Published
May 2013
26 pages
This study used crime pattern theory to investigate the proximity effects of public housing communities on robbery crime while taking into account the presence of nearby nonresidential facilities.
The study uses data describing 41 Philadelphia public housing communities and their surrounds. Surrounds are defined using two increments of street block-sized buffers. Multilevel models buffer areas nested around public housing communities allowing the proximity effect to vary across communities and predicting its shape with public housing level predictors are estimated. The multilevel models show that the shape of proximity effects varies across public housing communities and depends on community size, even after factoring in presence of nonresidential facilities. Spatially, multiple public housing communities close to one another have more intense robbery patterns. Labeling all public housing communities as equally criminogenic robbery exporters is unwarranted. In fact, some communities have lower robbery counts than the areas surrounding them. Consequently, effectively addressing robbery in and around public housing communities will require careful consideration of where the problem is located. Locating public housing communities more than two blocks apart may reduce robbery. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.