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The Center and its research partners are actively engaged in innovative and policy relevant research in different areas relating to both crime and the built environment as well as advanced crime mapping and spatial analysis.  Ongoing research projects include:

  • Assessing the impact of development on crime patterns: As the United States becomes an ever more urban society, issues of urban sprawl, infill development and crime have all become intertwined.  Importantly, debate continues to rage about the impact that sprawl and infill development have on urban crime patterns and the sustainability of communities.  However, while these research debates continue to play out, policy makers from Police agencies to city planners are increasingly tasked with providing analysis and insight on the impact that proposed zoning and land use changes may have on communities.  Specifically, what kind of impact might proposed new developments and land use changes have on crime patterns in a local neighborhood?  This research seeks to provide police and planners with a methodology for using GIS and available local data to determine the impact of proposed development on a local neighborhood. 
  • Pedestrian trails, crime and property values: Concern for the environment and sustainability issues have become increasingly important across the United States.  While these concerns have been manifested in a myriad of ways, one such way is to increase the amount of walkable communities through the building of pedestrian trails that connect neighborhoods with shopping and other amenities.  However, while urban planners and environmentalists strongly support these efforts, many residents have resisted trails due to concerns about criminal victimization and decreased property values.  Using an extensive database this research explores the impact of trails on both property crime and residential property values. 
  • Permeability and Crime:  The major concern of many city planners in today’s world is sustainability for the future. Often time’s sustainability leads to higher levels of permeability; which in turn has been shown to lead to a higher likelihood of crimes such as burglary. But what level of permeability is too much? How is permeability measured? These are the questions we seek to answer. By looking at how permeability has been measured by others, we are seeking to develop a more representative measure of the permeability that can easily be used to assess impacts on crime.  In addition, this research seeks to assess different road types in order to provide guidance on the best ways to maximize permeability and sustainability while still creating safe and livable communities.
  • High Crime Areas and 4th Amendment Rights:  Under existing U.S. Supreme Court precedent, an individual’s 4th amendment protection against unreasonable stop are reduced if they are within a “high crime area”.  Importantly, while this standard exists, the courts have not yet settled on a definition and methodology for determining what constitutes a “high crime area” and how police agencies can consistently and accurately determine this classification.  This research seeks to create guidelines that stand up to court approval and analysis, yet can be easily replicated by police agencies with limited resources and technical sophistication.
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