Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the spatial influence of features of the physical environment on the risk of aggression toward law enforcement.
Design/methodology/approach – The spatial analytic technique, risk terrain modeling was performed on felonious battery data provided by the Chicago Police Department.
Findings – Out of the 991 batteries against law enforcement officers (LEOs) in Chicago, 11 features of the physical environment were identified as presenting a statistically significant spatial risk of battery to LEOs. Calls for service within three blocks of foreclosures and/or within a dense area of problem buildings pose as much as two times greater risk of battery to police officers than what is presented by other significant spatial factors in the model.
Originality/value – An abundance of existing research on aggression toward law enforcement is situated from the perspective of characteristics of the suspect or officer. The research advances the field of violence studies by illustrating the importance of incorporating physical features of the environment into empirical studies of aggression.