Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

John D. Burrow

Abstract

Place-based criminology has a long history of examining the potential causes and correlates of criminogenic environments. This line of scholarship has been able to establish that crime, levels of social guardianship, and racial/ethnic groups are unevenly distributed throughout space. Routine activity theory and environmental criminology are two prominent explanations of the causes of criminogenic environments. Specifically, the crime generator and crime attractor scholarship (Brantingham & Brantingham, 1995) has found recent success uncovering which certain land uses that may be “risky facilities” (e.g., pawn shops, payday lenders, bars). However, these paradigms have yet to discover which businesses are crime-reducing and an asset to the communities where they are nested. Thus, the focus of this project is to introduce a new theoretical concept called “virtue locales,” which are race-specific businesses that reduce crime due to their ability to exert high levels of social guardianship. Moreover, other “virtues” they provide are social capital, social cohesion and connections, social ties, and legitimate opportunities to the community. Utilizing various analytic approaches (descriptive buffer analyses, matching techniques, and count regression modeling), this research project tests whether there are crime-reducing associations of proposed virtue locales (e.g., barbershops and beauty salons) on street segments. Findings show that virtue locales are associated with reductions in crime counts, regardless of time of the day. Theoretical implications, policy implications, and a future research agenda will also be presented.

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