A spatial Analysis of Crime and Neighborhood Characteristics in Detroit Census Block Groups
Keywords: Violent Crime, Social Disorganization, Autoregressive Model, Spatial Analysis
Abstract. Crime has an inherent geographical quality and when a crime occurs, it happens within a particular space making spatiality essential component in crime studies. To prevent and respond to crimes, it is first essential to identify the factors that trigger crimes and then design policy and strategy based on each factor. This project investigates the spatial dimension of violent crime rates in the city of Detroit for 2019. Crime data were obtained from the City of Detroit Data Portal and demographic data relating to social disorganization theory were obtained from the Census Bureau. In the presence of spatial spill over and spatial dependence, the assumptions of classical statistics are violated, and Ordinary Least Squares estimations are inefficient in explaining spatial dimensions of crime. This paper uses explanatory variables relating to the social disorganization theory of crime and spatial autoregressive models to determine the predictors of violent crime in the City for the period. Using GeoDa 1.18 and ArcGIS Desktop 10.7.1 software package, Spatial Lag Models (SLM) and Spatial Error Models were carried out to determine which model has high performance in identifying predictors of violent crime. SLM outperformed SEM in terms of efficiency with (AIC:5268.52; Breusch-Pagan test: 9.8402; R2: 16% & Log Likelihood: −2627.26) > SEM (AIC: 5275.24; Breusch-Pagan test: 9.7601; R2: 15% & Log Likelihood: −2630.6194). Strong support is found for the spatial disorganization theory of crime. High percent ethnic heterogeneity (% black) and high college graduates are the strongest predictors of violent crime in the study area.