The Influence of Stadia and the Built Environment On the Spatial Distribution of Crime

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Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the influence of “micro-” (e.g., pubs and fast-food restaurants) and “super-facilities” on area level counts of crime. Soccer stadia were selected as an example of a super-facility as their episodic use provides conditions not unlike a natural experiment. Of particular interest was whether the presence of such facilities, and their influence on the flow of people through neighborhoods on match days affects crime. Consideration was also given to how the social composition of a neighborhood might influence crime.

Methods: Crime, street network, and points of interest data were obtained for the areas around five UK soccer stadia. Counts of crime were computed for small areal units and the spatial distribution of crime examined for match and non-match days. Variables derived from graph theory were generated to estimate how micro-facilities might influence the movement flows of people on match days. Spatial econometric analyses were used to test hypotheses.

Results: Mixed support was found for the influence of neighborhood social composition on crime for both match and non-match days. Considering the influence of facilities, a selective pattern emerged with crime being elevated in those neighborhoods closest to stadia on match but not non-match days. Micro-facilities too were found to influence crime levels. Particularly clear was the finding that the influence of pubs and fast-food restaurants on estimated movement flows to and from stadia on match (but not non-match) days was associated with area level crime.

Conclusions: Our findings provide further support for ecological theories of crime and how factors that influence the likely convergence of people in urban spaces affect levels of crime.

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Journal of Quantitative Criminology

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