Planning for Crime: Exploring the Connections between Urban Space, Development and Patterns of Crime

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Thesis type
(Dissertation) Ph.D.
Date created
The built urban environment influences the spatial distribution of criminal activity. Common activity nodes are clustered in specific urban locales, drawing individuals from within and beyond municipal boundaries for legitimate, daily needs. These key nodes are connected via the street network, and are typically concentrated along major routes. Such built urban features form the origins, destinations, and pathways used by residents and visitors alike, thereby facilitating the intersection of potential offenders and targets in both space and time. Crime events have repeatedly been found to concentrate at and near key features within the built environment, though the specific patterns of clustering can vary by urban locale and urban feature. This compilation of three inter-related studies explores the connections between crime and the physical landscape within a relatively under-studied research environment: mid-sized suburban municipalities. The first study contributes a multi-scale locally based exploration of the land use and road types associated with disproportionate crime rates. These results direct the second investigation, which analyses the areas beyond each local attractor to identify whether crime concentrates in these micro-spaces as well. The final contribution applies these locally-identified relationships within a prototype modeling framework to investigate the potential impact that urban growth and development may have on both crime, and the need for police resourcing. The collective results from this work emphasize the importance of locally-based, micro-scale analysis when exploring connections between crime and the urban environment. It further highlights the need for consideration of these results within planning and policy environments, and proposes a preliminary approach to facilitate this connection.
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This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Andresen, Martin
Thesis advisor: Brantingham, Patricia L.
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