Exploring the Spatial Relationship Between Drugs and Violence: Moving Beyond Traditional Crime and Place Research

Cynthia Lum, University of Maryland at College Park

The link between illegal drugs and violence is a recurruing theme in both criminological research and criminal justice policy. Despite much research about the effects of drugs and the drug trade on criminal activity, little is known about the macro, geographic patterns of drugs and violence and their relationship to each other. Popular "hot spot" research in violence or drug markets tends to focus on finding hot spots for use in specific crime prevention programs, rathjer than expkloring the spatial relationship between the hot spots themselves. This paper takes a place-based approach, analyzing the spatial relationship between drug markets and violence not only to further add to criminological literature about the drug-crime nexus but also to contribute to the current building of theoretical foundations of crime and place. This research also will attempt to make a methodological contribution by goiung beyond descriptive crime mapping and using spatial statistics and spatial modeling techniques.

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Updated 05/20/2006