Challenges in Spatial Data Analysis of Neighborhoods

Katrina Baum, University of Pennsylvania

Spatial data analysis is important to the development criminological theory and its applications. One theory that easily lends itself to the spatial analysis of data is the broken windows theory (Wilson and Kelling, 1982). The environment is crucial in this theory whose thesis is that exposure to conditions of untended disorder and quality-of-life offenses will lead to more serious crime. However, analyzing data based on a geographic unit poses additional problems than using familiar regression techniques.

This paper will compare existing tools to conduct this type of analysis that are available from the field of crime mapping. Drawing upon these methods a combination of spatial and temporal statistical techniques will be used to study the relationship between disorder and serious crime over the course of five years in a western city in the U.S. This paper has both theoretical and methodological implications.

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Updated 05/20/2006