ASC 2016 – Quantifying the Local and Spatial Effects of Alcohol Outlets on Crime

This year at the American Society of Criminology I will be presenting some work from my dissertation, Quantifying the Local and Spatial Effects of Alcohol Outlets on Crime. I have the working paper posted on SSRN, and that also has a link to download data and code to reproduce the findings in the paper.

I will be presenting at the panel Alcohol and Crime on Wednesday at 9:30 (at the Cambridge room on the 2nd level).

Here is the abstract:

This paper estimates the relationship between alcohol outlets and crime at micro place street units in Washington, D.C. Three specific additions to this voluminous literature are articulated. First, the diffusion effect of alcohol outlets is larger than the local effect. This has important implications for crime prevention. The second is that in this sample the effects of on-premise and off-premise outlets are very similar in magnitude. I argue this is evidence in favor of routine activities theory, in opposition to theories which emphasize individual alcohol consumption. The final is that alcohol outlets have large effects on burglary, despite the fact that alcohol outlets cannot increase the number of vulnerable targets, as it can with interpersonal crimes. I discuss how this can either be interpreted as evidence that alcohol outlets self-select into already crime prone areas, or potentially that the presence of motivated offenders’ matters much more than increasing the number of potential victims.

The most interesting finding is the fact that I estimate the diffusion effect of alcohol outlets is larger than the local effect. I then show that this is the case for some other papers as well, it is just interpreting the regression model is tricky. Here is a diagram showing what happens. The idea is the regression coefficient for the spatial lag is one orange dot, and the local effect is the blue dot. Adding a bar though diffuses to multiple places, so when adding up all the smaller orange dots, they result in more crime than the one bigger blue dot.

Presentation at ACJS 2016

I will be presenting at the ACJS (Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences) conference in Denver in a few days. My talk will be on some of the work I have been conducting with the Albany Police Department via the Finn Institute (Rob Worden and Sarah McLean are co-authors on the presentation). The title is Making stops smart: Predicting arrest rates from discretionary police stops at micro places in Albany, NY and here is the abstract:

Police stops are one of the most invasive, but regularly used crime control tactics by police. Similar to how focusing police resources at hot spots of crime can improve police efficiency, here we examine the spatial variation in arrest rates at micro places (street segments and intersections) in Albany, NY. Using data from over 240,000 discretionary police stops, we fit random effects logistic regression models to predict the probability of an arrest at different micro places. We show that like hot spots, there are examples of high arrest rate locations next to low arrest rate locations. Using a simulation, we show that if one displaced stops from low arrest locations to high arrest locations, one could make half as many stops but still have the same number of total arrests.

Here is a funnel chart of the arrest hit rates at micro-places across the city. You can see quite a bit of extra variation in arrest rates to attempt to explain.

I am giving this at 8 am on Thursday (see Event #185 in the program)

There will be two other presentations at the moment (Ling Wu is not going to make it), and they are:

  • Results from a victim generated crime mapping software, Zavin Nazaretian et al. – Indiana University of PA
  • Spatial analysis of aggravated assault and homicide crime scene, arrest and offender residence locations in Houston, TX, Elishewah Weisz – Sam Houston

So if you are interested in crime mapping stuff it should be a good session.

Feel free to bug me if you see me around at ACJS.


 

Also before I forget, my co-workers are presenting a poster on analysis of Syracuse Truce – a focused deterrence gang intervention. The posters are on Friday, so I won’t be around unfortunately. The title is Gangs, groups, networks, and deterrence: An evaluation of Syracuse Truce. (See poster #45 in the same program I linked to earlier.) Rob and Kelly will at least be manning the poster though – so you can go and bug them about the details!

Here is a picture of the reach of call-ins for one particular gang. The idea is for those who attended call ins to spread the message to other members. So this graph evaluates how well the call-ins would be expected to reach all of the members of the gang.

If you are wondering what I do for my job – yes I pretty much just make maps and graphs all day long 😉

 

 

 

Presentation at IACA 2014 – Making Field Stops Smart

Part of the work I am doing with the Finn Institute in collaboration with the Albany Police Department was accepted as a presentation at the upcoming IACA conference in Seattle next week. The NIJ used to have a separate Crime Mapping conference, but they folded it into the yearly IACA conference. So this is one of the NIJ Crime Mapping presentations.

The title of the presentation is Making Field Stops Smart, and below is the abstract:

Mapping hot spots of crime incidents for use in allocating patrol resources has become commonplace. This research is intended to extend the logic to mapping locations of field interviews. The project has two specific spatial analysis components; 1) are most of the stops being conducted a high crime locations, and 2) are locations with the most stops the locations with the most productive stops (in terms of arrests, contraband recovery, stopping chronic offenders). Making stops smart is being conducted as a research partnership between the Albany, NY police department and the Finn Institute of Public Safety.

The time of the presentation is at 15:30 on Thursday 9/11. Two other presenters, Eric Paull from Akron, Ohio and Christian Peterson from Portland, Oregon have presentations on the panel as well (see the IACA agenda for their talk abstracts).

I am uncomfortable publicly releasing the pre-print white papers given the collaboration (Rob Worden and Sarah McLean are co-authors) and because that APD’s name is directly attached to the work. But if you send me an email I can forward the white paper for this presentation and related work we are doing.

If you see me at IACA feel free to come up and say hi. I do not have any other plans while I am in town besides going to presentations.

 

Defending Prospectus

The defense date for my prospectus, What we can learn from small units of analysis, is finally set, November 1st at 9:30 (location TBD). You can find an electronic copy of the prospectus here and below is the abstract. So bring your slings and arrows (and I’ll bring some hydrogen peroxide and gauze?)

What we can learn from small units of analysis
Andrew Wheeler Prospectus Defense 11/1/2013

The dissertation is aimed at advancing knowledge of the correlates of crime at small geographic units of analysis. I begin the prospectus by detailing what motivates examining crime at small places, and focus on how aggregation creates confounds that limit causal inference. Local and spatial effects are confounded when using aggregate units, so to the extent the researcher wishes to distinguish between these two types of effects it should guide what unit of analysis is chosen. To illustrate these differences, I propose data analysis to examine local, spatial and contextual effects for bars, broken windows and crime using publicly available data from Washington D.C. I also propose a second set of data analysis focusing on estimating the effects of various measures of the built environment on crime.

Presenting at ASC this fall

The preliminary program for the American Society of Criminology meeting (this November in Atlanta) is up and my scheduled presentation time is 3:30 on Wednesday Nov. 20th. The title of my talk is Visualization Techniques for Journey to Crime Flow Data, and the associated pre-print is available on SSRN.

The title of the panel is Spatial and Temporal Analysis (a bit of a hodge podge I know), and is being held at Room 8 at the international level. The other presentations are;

  • Analyzing Spatial Interactions in Homicide Research Using a Spatial Durbin Model by Matthew Ruther and John McDonald (UPenn Demography and Criminology respectively)
  • Space-time Case-control Study of Violence in Urban Landscapes by Douglas Wiebe et al. (Some more folks from UPenn but not from the Criminology dept.!)
  • Spatial and Temporal Relationships between Violence, Alcohol Outlets and Drug Markets in Boston, 2006-2010 by Robert Lipton et al. (UMich Injury Center)

So come to see the other presenters (and stay for mine)! If anyone would like to meet up during the conference, feel free to shoot me an email. If I don’t cut my hair in the meantime maybe me and Robert Lipton can start a craziest hair for ASC award.

Note, I have no idea who the panel chair is, so perhaps we are still open for volunteers for that job.

Viz. JTC Flow lines – Paper for ASC this fall

Partly because I would go crazy if I worked only on my dissertation, I started a paper about visualizing JTC flow lines awhile back, and I am going to present what I have so far at the American Society of Criminology (ASC) meeting at Atlanta this fall.

My paper is still quite rough around the edges (so not quite up for posting to SSRN), but here is the current version. This actually started out as an answer I gave to a question on the GIS stackexchange site, and after I wrote it up I figured it would be worthwhile endeavor to write an article. Alasdair Rae has a couple of viz. flow data papers currently, but I thought I could extend those papers and write for a different audience of criminologists using journey to crime (JTC) data.

As always, I would still appreciate any feedback. I’m hoping to send this out to a journal in the near future, and so far I have only goated one of my friends into reviewing the paper.

My experience blogging in 2012

I figured I would write a brief post about my experience blogging. I created this blog and published my first post in December of 2011. Since then, in 2012, I published 30 blog posts, and totaled 7,200 views. While I thought the number was quite high (albeit a bit dissapointing compared to the numbers of Larry Wasserman), it is still many more people than would have listened to what I had to say if I didn’t write a blog. When starting out I averaged under 10 views a day, but throughout the year it steadily grew, and now I average about 30 views per day. The post that had the most traffic in one day was When should we use a black background for a map?, and that was largely because of some twitter traffic (a result of Steven Romalewski tweeting it and then it being re-tweeted by Kenneth Field), and it had 73 views.

I started the blog because I really loved reading alot of others blogs, and so I hope to encourage others to do so as well. It is a nice venue to share work and opinions for an academic, as it is more flexible and can be less formal than articles. Also much of what I write about I would just consider helpful tips or generic discussion that I wouldn’t get to discuss otherwise (SPSS programming and graph tips will never make it into a publication). One of my main motivations was actually R-Bloggers and the SAS blog roll; I would like a similarly active community for SPSS, but there is none really that I have found outside of the NABBLE forum (some exceptions are Andy Field, The Analysis Factor, Jon Peck and these few posts by a Louis K I only found through the labyrinth that is the IBM developerworks site (note I think you need to be signed in to even see that site), but they certainly aren’t very active and/or don’t write much about SPSS). I assume the best way to remedy that is to lead by example! Most of my more popular posts are ones about SPSS, and I frequently get web-traffic via general google searches of SPSS + something else I blogged about (hacking the template and comparing continuous distributions are my two top posts).

Also the blog is also just another place to highlight my academic work and bring more attention to it. WordPress tells me how often someone clicks a link on the blog, and someone has clicked the link to my CV close to 40 times since I’ve made the blog. Hopefully I have some pre-print journal articles to share on the blog in the near future (as well as my prospectus). My post on my presentation at ASC did not generate much traffic, but I would love to see a similar trend for other criminologists/criminal justicians in the future. My work isn’t perfect for sure, but why not get it out there at least for it to be judged and hopefully get feedback.

I would like to blog more, and I actively try to write something if I haven’t in a few weeks, but I don’t stress about it too much. I certainly have an infinite pool of posts to write about programming and generating graphs in SPSS. I have also thought about talking about historical graphics in criminology and criminal justice, or generally talking about some historical and contemporary crime mapping work. Other potential posts I’d like to write about are a more formal treatment about why I loathe most difference-in-differences designs, and perhaps about the sillyness that can ensue when using null-hypothesis significance testing to determine racial bias. But they will both take more careful elaboration on, so might not be anytime soon.

So in short, SPSSer’s, crime mapper’s, criminologist’s/criminal justician’s, I want you to start blogging, and I will eagerly consume your work (and in the meantime hopefully produce some more useful stuff on my end)!

Presentation at ASC – November, 2012

At the American Society of Criminology conference in Chicago in a few weeks I will be presenting (I can’t link to the actual presentation it appears, but you can search the program for Wheeler and my session will come up). Don’t take this as a final product, but I figured I would put out there the working paper/chapters of my dissertation that are the motivation for my presentation and my current set of slides.

Here is my original abstract I submitted a few months ago, The title of the talk is The Measurement of Small Place Correlates of Crime;

This presentation addresses several problems related with attempting to identify correlates of crime at small units of analysis, such as street segments. In particular the presentation will focus on articulating what we can potentially learn from smaller units of analysis compared to larger aggregations, and relating a variety of different measures of the built environment and demographic characteristics of places to theoretical constructs of interest to crime at places. Preliminary results examining the discriminant and convergent validity of theoretical constructs pertinent to theories for the causes of crime using data from Washington, D.C. will be presented.

This was certainly an over-ambitious abstract (I was still in the process of writing my prospectus when I submitted it). The bulk of the talk will be focused on “What we can learn from small units of analysis?”, and as of now after that as time allows I will present some illustrations of the change of support problem. Sorry to dissapoint, but nothing about convergent or divergent validity of spatial constructs will be presented (I have done no work of interest yet, and I don’t think I would have time to present any findings in anymore than a superficial manner anyway).

Note don’t be scared off by how dull the working paper is, the presentation will certainly be more visual and less mathematical (I will need to update my dissertation to incorporate some more graphical presentations).

Maps and graphis at the end of the talk demonstrating the change of support problem are still in the works (and I will continue to update the presentation on here). Here is a preview though of the first map I made that demonstrates how D.C. disseminates geo-date aggregated and snapped to street segments, making it problematic to mash up with census data.

The presentation time is on Friday at 9:30, and I’m excited to see the other presentations as well. It looks like to me that Pizarro et al.’s related research was recently published in Justice Quarterly, so if you don’t care for my presentation come to see the other presenters!