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Examining the Relationship Between Road Structure and Burglary Risk Via Quantitative Network Analysis

Davies, T; Johnson, SD; (2015) Examining the Relationship Between Road Structure and Burglary Risk Via Quantitative Network Analysis. Journal of Quantitative Criminology , 31 (3) pp. 481-507. 10.1007/s10940-014-9235-4. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To test the hypothesis that the spatial distribution of residential burglary is shaped by the configuration of the street network, as predicted by, for example, crime pattern theory. In particular, the study examines whether burglary risk is higher on street segments with higher usage potential. METHODS: Residential burglary data for Birmingham (UK) are examined at the street segment level using a hierarchical linear model. Estimates of the usage of street segments are derived from the graph theoretical metric of betweenness, which measures how frequently segments feature in the shortest paths (those most likely to be used) through the network. Several variants of betweenness are considered. The geometry of street segments is also incorporated—via a measure of their linearity—as are several socio-demographic factors. RESULTS: As anticipated by theory, the measure of betweenness was found to be a highly-significant predictor of the burglary victimization count at the street segment level for all but one of the variants considered. The non-significant result was found for the most localized measure of betweenness considered. More linear streets were generally found to be at lower risk of victimization. CONCLUSIONS: Betweenness offers a more granular and objective means of measuring the street network than categorical classifications previously used, and its meaning links more directly to theory. The results provide support for crime pattern theory, suggesting a higher risk of burglary for streets with more potential usage. The apparent negative effect of linearity suggests the need for further research into the visual component of target choice, and the role of guardianship.

Type: Article
Title: Examining the Relationship Between Road Structure and Burglary Risk Via Quantitative Network Analysis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10940-014-9235-4
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10940-014-9235-4
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.
Keywords: Burglary; Street network; Environmental criminology; Crime
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1456293
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