Online Program

Examining the threshold for neighborhood ownership and crime

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ronald Pitner, PhD, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Ernest Wiggins, MA, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Shanna Hastie, LMSW, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Kaipeng Wang, MSW, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Mansoo Yu, PhD, School of Social Work, Master of Public Health Program, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO
Although prior research shows that neighborhoods with lower levels of residential property ownership have higher signs of incivilities and higher rates of crime, it is still unclear how built environments, territoriality, incivilities, and crime are related to residential property ownership. In this exploratory study, a total of 68 neighborhood blocks in a mid-size city in the Southeast region of the US were examined in 2011. Residential properties were categorized as three types of neighborhoods: owned (at least 70% owner-occupied), rented (at least 70% renter-occupied), and mixed (evenly split around 50% owned and rented). Data were obtained from the county property assessment GIS maps, the Revised Block Environmental Inventory (RBEI) including information about built environments, incivilities, and territoriality, and police crime data. Fourteen raters (7 dyads) conducted environmental inventories in the three types of residential properties. Inter-rater agreement was quite high, ranging from .85 to .92. Our results showed that built environments and territoriality were highest in the “mixed” neighborhood and lowest in the “owned” neighborhood. A similar pattern emerged for incivilities, although incivilities were quite high for the “mixed” neighborhood. Police crime data revealed that violent crimes and public order offense crimes were higher in the “rented” neighborhood, while property crimes were higher in both the “mixed” and “owned” neighborhoods. This study suggests that when it comes to crime, incivilities, territoriality, and built environments, it is important to examine the threshold for owned residential properties in a neighborhood. Further implications for neighborhood safety interventions will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss whether or not there is a threshold for residential owned vs. rented properties for determining neighborhood ownership and safety.

Keyword(s): Crime, Community Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the recipient of multiple grants focused on built environments, neighborhood safety, and crime. I also have numerous peer-reviewed publications on this topic.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.