Compared to What? Estimating the Relative Concentration of Crime at Places using Systematic and Other Reviews

Document Type


Publication Date



Crime Concentration, Offenders, Road Segment, Victims, Lorenz Curve

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Background: That crime is concentrated at a few places is well established by over 44 studies. This is true whether one examines addresses or street segments. Additionally, crime is concentrated among offenders and victims. Many physical, biological, and social phenomena are concentrated as well. This raises a question: is crime more or less concentrated at places than other phenomena? If it is not, then crime concentration maybe the result of standard ubiquitous processes that operate in nature. If crime is more or is less concentrated than other phenomena, then researchers need to ask why.

Methods: We synthesize results from three systematic reviews and review other literatures to provide preliminary answers.

Results: We find that although crime is more concentrated at addresses than other spatial units, this is due to the fact that more addresses have no crime than is true of larger units. When only places with one or more crimes are examined, place crime is no more concentrated than other spatial unit crime. Crime appears to be concentrated at places at about the same level as it is concentrated among offenders or victims. And crime concentration does not appear to be peculiarly concentrated compared to non-crime related phenomena.

Conclusions: The concentration of crime at places is unexceptional, and should be treated as one manifestation of a general tendency of things to be concentrated.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Crime Science, v. 6, art. 8