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Criminal Neighbourhoods: Does the Density of Prior Offenders in an Area Encourage others to Commit Crime?

Livingston, Mark and Galster, George and Kearns, Ade and Bannister, Jon (2014) Criminal Neighbourhoods: Does the Density of Prior Offenders in an Area Encourage others to Commit Crime? Environment and Planning A, 46 (10). pp. 2469-2488. ISSN 0308-518X

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Abstract

Using crime data over a period of a decade for Glasgow, this paper explores whether the density of prior offenders in a neighbourhoods has an influence on the propensity of others to (re)commence offending. The study shows that the number of ‘newly active’ offenders in a neighbourhood in the current quarter is positively associated with the density of prior offenders for both violent and property crime from the previous two years. In the case of newly active property offenders, the relationship with active prior offenders is apparent only when prior offender counts exceed the median. The paper postulates that intraneighbourhood social mechanisms may be at work to create these effects. The results suggest that policies which concentrate offenders in particular neighbourhoods may increase the number of newly active offenders, and point to evidence of a threshold at which these effects take place.

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