Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


Mangai Natarajan

Committee Members

Valerie West

Ernest Drucker

Subject Categories

Criminology and Criminal Justice


Continuing advances in the fields of environmental criminology and geographical information sciences are facilitating place-based research. One of the current trends in environmental criminology is the focus on micro-level `places' including street segments, property lots, and specific kinds of buildings and facilities in understanding crime patterns and the opportunity structure that permits crime. Despite important findings on the concentration of crime in urban areas, there continues to be substantial gaps in our knowledge about micro-level spatiotemporal patterns of crime. These gaps in micro-level environmental criminology research have primarily been a result of the lack of access to data, availability of ancillary data (land-use & business establishment data), accuracy of geocoded crime data, and availability of existing theory and methods to study crime at micro-levels.

Interestingly, many studies indicate that crimes are clustered at neighborhood level, but the entire neighborhood is rarely (if ever) criminogenic and only specific parts of neighborhoods contain high concentrations of crime. Prior studies incorrectly assume that the relationships between crime, population, land-use, and business establishment types are both homogenous and spatially stationary. Environmental criminologists using Pareto's 80/20 concept pointed out that not all parks are full of drug users/dealers, not all high schools have high rates of delinquency, not all bars contain high rates of assault, and not all parking lots have high rates of auto theft. In fact neighborhoods contain hot spots (high density crime areas) and cold spots (low density crime areas), bad streets and good streets, and good and bad businesses.

By undertaking a micro-level spatiotemporal framework, this dissertation research is intended to promote understanding of the patterns of violent crimes and the opportunity factors that contribute to these crimes in neighborhoods, street segments, property lots and business establishment types. The integration of environmental criminological theory and novel spatial analyses at the street segment and property lot level should help criminology/criminal justice scholars and practitioners to better understand the spatial and temporal processes in the `magma' that fuels today's hot spots.


Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.