Spatial Variations of Crime in Wisconsin: A Macroscale, Multivariate Analysis.
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
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The geography of crime is a growing subfield which has continued and expanded upon past criminological research. Most studies of crime, however, are limited to analysis of seven street crimes murder, assault, rape, robbery, burglary, larceny, and auto theft. Generally, most offenders of these crimes are of low socioeconomic status. Hypotheses were formulated that variables selected on the basis of previous associations with street crime would also explain low class crime in Wisconsin, but these variables would explain less of the variation in higher status crimes such as victimless and white-collar crime. To test these hypotheses, the variables were reduced to their underlying dimensions via principal components analysis, and the resulting factors served as independent variables in a stepwise regression with arrest rates for the various crimes. Crimes known to police were also employed as dependent variables on both the state and city level, but only for violent and property crime. The results of this study clearly showed that a set of environmental variables yield less explanation for aggregate criminal behavior as the status of the crime increases. Thus, the five dimensions which emerged were successful in explaining 71 of the statistical variation in violent crime arrest rates, but only 51 for property crime, 35 for victimless crime, and 26 for white-collar crime. When crimes known to police was used as the dependent variable explanation decreased, as it did when the analysis was performed at the tract level in Milwaukee. These findings, however, did not alter the major conclusion that a more comprehensive theory of criminal behavior must include crimes of higher status than street crime.
- Sociology and Law