This research was supported by National Institute of Justice grant #2001-IJ-CX-0022 to the University of Maryland. Points of view in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the U.S. Department of Justice. We want to express our gratitude for the co-operation of the Seattle Police Department, and especially to Chief Gil Kerlikowske for his interest and support of our work. We would also like to thank Lt. Ronald Rasmussen for his assistance in identifying and transferring data for the project, and Anthony Braga, John Eck, Elizabeth Groff, Daniel Nagin and Lorraine Mazerolle for their thoughtful comments and advice in revising our paper. We owe a special debt to Daniel Nagin for his guidance in applying the trajectory approach to micro crime places.
TRAJECTORIES OF CRIME AT PLACES: A LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF STREET SEGMENTS IN THE CITY OF SEATTLE*
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
Volume 42, Issue 2, pages 283–322, May 2004
How to Cite
WEISBURD, D., BUSHWAY, S., LUM, C. and YANG, S.-M. (2004), TRAJECTORIES OF CRIME AT PLACES: A LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF STREET SEGMENTS IN THE CITY OF SEATTLE. Criminology, 42: 283–322. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2004.tb00521.x
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
- crime places;
- hot spots;
- crime drop;
- trajectory analysis;
- routine activities;
- spatial analysis
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.