Examining the "Law of Crime Concentrations" Across Multiple Jurisdictions

Sang Jun Park

Advisor: Cynthia Lum, PhD, Department of Criminology, Law and Society

Committee Members: Christopher Koper, Charlotte Gill, Julie Anne Hibdon

Research Hall, #310
April 23, 2019, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM


Research has repeatedly shown that crime is concentrated at relatively smaller places. Weisburd (2015) argues that this may indicate the existence of a “law of crime concentration.” However, theoretical and empirical work in this area (i.e. social disorganization, routine activity, environmental criminology) has found a variety of factors that contribute to crime concentrations at places, which if variable, may also contribute to the variability of crime concentration at places. This study examines the salience of Weisburd’s law of crime concentration by similarly calculating crime concentration across all 43 police jurisdictions in England and Wales. The analysis confirms that crime indeed concentrates in a small proportion of street segments. However, this study also finds that the level of crime concentration can vary by crime types and at different thresholds of crime across jurisdictions. Further, two specific aspects of small places—population density and the length of street segments—significantly explains the variation of these concentrations. The results expand understanding of the concentration of crime at place to test the law of crime concentration.