Examine the degree of crime concentration at micro-places across six large cities, the spatial clustering of high and low crime micro-places within cities, the presence of outliers within those clusters, and extent to which there is stability and change in micro-place classification over time.
Using crime incident data gathered from six U.S. municipal police departments (Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Seattle) and aggregated to the street segment, Local Moran’s I is calculated to identify statistically significant high and low crime clusters across each city and outliers within those clusters that differ significantly from their local spatial neighbors.
Within cities, the proportion of segments that are like their neighbors and fall within a statistically significant high or low crime cluster are relatively stable over time. For all cities, the largest proportion of street segments fell into the same classification over time (47.5% to 69.3%); changing segments were less common (4.7% to 20.5%). Changing clusters (i.e., segments that fell into both low and high clusters during the study) were rare. Outliers in each city reveal statistically significant street-to-street variability.
The findings revealed similarities across cities, including considerable stability over time in segment classification. There were also cross-city differences that warrant further investigation, such as varying levels of spatial clustering. Understanding stable and changing clusters and outliers offers an opportunity for future research to explore the mechanisms that shape a city’s spatiotemporal crime patterns to inform strategic resource allocation at smaller spatial scales.