Use of a ‘microecological technique’ to study crime incidents around methadone maintenance treatment centers
Article first published online: 30 APR 2012
Published 2012. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
Volume 107, Issue 9, pages 1632–1638, September 2012
How to Cite
Boyd, S. J., Fang, L. J., Medoff, D. R., Dixon, L. B. and Gorelick, D. A. (2012), Use of a ‘microecological technique’ to study crime incidents around methadone maintenance treatment centers. Addiction, 107: 1632–1638. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03872.x
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 30 APR 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 2 MAR 2012 12:00AM EST
- Submitted 27 July 2011; initial review completed 15 September 2011; final version accepted 27 February 2012
- methadone maintenance;
- spatial analysis
Aims Concern about crime is a significant barrier to the establishment of methadone treatment centers (MTCs). Methadone maintenance reduces crime among those treated, but the relationship between MTCs and neighborhood crime is unknown. We evaluated crime around MTCs.
Setting Baltimore City, MD, USA.
Participants We evaluated crime around 13 MTCs and three types of control locations: 13 convenience stores (stores), 13 residential points and 10 general medical hospitals.
Measures We collected reports of Part 1 crimes from 1 January 1999 to 31 December 2001 from the Baltimore City Police Department.
Design Crimes and residential point locations were mapped electronically by street address (geocoded), and MTCs, hospitals and stores were mapped by visiting the sites with a global positioning satellite (GPS) locator. Concentric circular ‘buffers’ were drawn at 25-m intervals up to 300 m around each site. We used Poisson regression to assess the relationship between crime counts (incidents per unit area) and distance from the site.
Findings There was no significant geographic relationship between crime counts and MTCs or hospitals. A significant negative relationship (parameter estimate −0.3127, P < 0.04) existed around stores in the daytime (7 am–7 pm), indicating higher crime counts closer to the stores. We found a significant positive relationship around residential points during daytime (0.5180, P < 0.0001) and at night (0.3303, P < 0.0001), indicating higher crime counts further away.
Conclusions Methadone treatment centers, in contrast to convenience stores, are not associated geographically with crime.