Whether substance abuse treatment centers affect neighborhood crime is hotly debated. Empirical evidence on this issue is lacking because of the difficulty of distinguishing the crime effect of treatment centers in high-crime areas, the inability to make before-and-after comparisons for clinics founded before computerized crime data, and the need for appropriate control sites. The authors present an innovative method (without an actual data analysis) to overcome these challenges. Clinic addresses and crime data are geocoded by street address. Crimes are counted within concentric-circular, 25-meter “buffers” around the clinics. Regression analyses are used to calculate the “crime slope” (β) among the buffers. A negative β indicates more crimes closer to the site. A similar process is used to evaluate crimes around control sites: convenience stores, hospitals, and residential points. This innovative technique provides valid empirical evidence on crime around substance abuse treatment centers.
Social Science Computer Review – SAGE
Published: May 1, 2007
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