The social ecology of metropolitan and nonmetropolitan violent crime: A spatial diffusion model

                         Cameron, James Gilbert; PhD

                         THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY, 1999
                         SOCIOLOGY, CRIMINOLOGY AND PENOLOGY (0627); GEOGRAPHY (0366)

                         The ecological study of crime has been a topic of interest in criminology for quite some time and has
                         been investigated for a wide range of city sizes, types, neighborhood settings, and points in time.
                         Virtually all attempts to develop ecological models of crime have nevertheless overlooked spatial
                         dependence, spread and heterogeneity in their conceptualizations. The present study is an attempt to
                         address this omission through the application of Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies and
                         spatial analysis procedures to the study of metropolitan and nonmetropolitan violent crime patterns in the
                         United States at the county level for 1977–1996. The principal objectives of this dissertation are
                         threefold. The first goal is to apply the exploratory and analytical capabilities of GIS to a relatively
                         unexplored area of criminological research-the diffusion of violent crime. A second objective is to
                         investigate the extent to which violent crime is spreading from metropolitan to nonmetropolitan locations
                         and the degree to which violent crime rates in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan locations are
                         converging over time. A third objective is to develop a diffusion model of violent crime and to examine
                         various types of diffusion processes—including expansion diffusion, relocation diffusion, and
                         hierarchical diffusion—and the specific demographic and spatial mechanisms through which these
                         diffusion processes operate with regard to the spread of violent crime. In particular, these hypothesized
                         mechanisms include spatial proximity, regional location, size of place, population growth, population
                         mobility, population composition (age- and sex-structure), and population diversity.

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