Trajectories of Crime at Places: A Longitudinal Study of Street Segments in the City of Seattle

CRIMINOLOGY Vol. 42, No. 2, 2004

40 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2015

See all articles by David L. Weisburd

David L. Weisburd

Hebrew University of Jerusalem; George Mason University - The Department of Criminology, Law & Society; Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law

Shawn D. Bushway

University at Albany

Cynthia Lum

George Mason University

Sue-Ming Yang

University of Maryland

Date Written: July 17, 2015

Abstract

Studies of crime at micro places have generally relied on cross-sectional data and reported the distributions of crime statistics over short periods of time. In this paper we use official crime data to examine the distribution of crime at street segments in Seattle, Washington, over a 14-year period. We go beyond prior research in two ways. First, we view crime trends at places over a much longer period than other studies that have examined micro places. Second, we use group-based trajectory analysis to uncover distinctive developmental trends in our data. Our findings support the view that micro places generally have stable concentrations of crime events over time. However, we also find that a relatively small proportion of places belong to groups with steeply rising or declining crime trajectories and that these places are primarily responsible for overall city trends in crime. These findings are particularly important given the more general decline in crime rates observed in Seattle and many other American cities in the 1990s. Our study suggests that the crime drop can be understood not as a general process that occurred across the city landscape but one that was generated in a relatively small group of micro places with strong declining crime trajectories over time.

Keywords: crime places, hot spots, crime drop, trajectory analysis, routine activities, spatial analysis

Suggested Citation

Weisburd, David L. and Bushway, Shawn D. and Lum, Cynthia and Yang, Sue-Ming, Trajectories of Crime at Places: A Longitudinal Study of Street Segments in the City of Seattle (July 17, 2015). CRIMINOLOGY Vol. 42, No. 2, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2632683

David L. Weisburd (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, IL Jerusalem 91905
Israel

George Mason University - The Department of Criminology, Law & Society ( email )

4400 University Drive
MS 4F4
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Scopus
Mount Scopus, IL 91905
Israel

Shawn D. Bushway

University at Albany ( email )

324 Milne Hall
Albany, NY 12222
United States

Cynthia Lum

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Sue-Ming Yang

University of Maryland ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

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