Bars, Malls, Brawls, and Blocks

Denn (Dennis W.) Roncek, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Rebecca K. Murray, University of Nebraska at Omaha

The neighborhood bar which was located either on a main or side street in a residential area is disappearing. The "malling" of America moved shopping away from downtown and neighborhoods. it also led to recreational establishments such as movie theaters and now even taverns and bars being located in medium to large malls. As a result, the past linkage between the presence of bars and crime can be changing because of the differences in the routine activities associated with a mall bar rather than a neighborhood bar and the differing levels of guardianship that the two environments provide. Using recent city-block level data for a medium-size Midwestern city, we compare the overall patterns of and effects on crime associated with the location of bars in malls resembles with those for bars located in residential areas. We focus on assaults and motor vehicle thefts because of the past connection of bars with assaults and because of the different environments in which vehicles will be parked between the two types of areas. We use count and censored data strategies to estimate the effects of bars on these crimes.

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Updated 05/20/2006