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A tale of two theories: Applying social disorganization theory and routine activities theory to Vancouver

Resource type
Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Author: Shen, Jen-Li
Social disorganization theory and routine activities theory have been extensively applied separately as theoretical frameworks in the spatial analysis of crime, resulting in a large body of generally supportive literature. As hypothetical explanations for complex social phenomena, criminological theories can impact how studies are framed, and how the crime problem is approached. Thus, it is important to continuously evaluate theories in various geographical, as well as contemporary contexts. This study uses both theories in tandem to examine their ability to explain property crime in Vancouver, British Columbia, using 2016 census data. Both theories found weak to no support. Of particular note is that all of the variables designated as proxies for ethnic heterogeneity in social disorganization theory were not statistically significant and therefore not useful in the explanation of property crime. Of the statistically significant variables, five did not behave as theoretically expected; however, explanations for these theoretical contradictions make sense in the context of Vancouver.
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Copyright is held by the author.
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Andresen, Martin
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