Is There A Law of Crime Concentration for Most Crime in A City? A Multi-City Study



Zastrow, Taryn

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Research has continually shown that crime is highly concentrated in small geographic places, leading Weisburd (2015) to formally propose a possible law of crime concentration. Scholars have since tested the law using smaller proportions of crime (i.e., 25% and 50%), finding remarkable consistency across place and time. However, the present study aims to address an unanswered question: Can a law of crime concentration exist for most or all crime? Using crime data from five U.S. cities, this study examines the distribution of most and all crime by calculating the proportions of crime occurring on street segments. The analysis finds that the concentration of most and all crime is relatively consistent between cities. Between 44.8% and 55.6% of street segments produced 100% of crime across the five cities, suggesting that roughly half of all street segments do not experience any crime each year. The study also finds high concentration and tight bandwidths for crime thresholds encompassing most crime. The results suggest that variation between cities may occur because of differing street networks and landscapes. The findings fill in the gaps for literature of crime concentration, specifically the concentration of most and all crime.



Crime, Geography, Concentration, Place, Hot spots