Facilities, opportunity, and crime: An exploratory analysis of places in two urban neighborhoods

Lesli Blair, Pamela Wilcox, John Eck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Crime prevention strategists have long been examining the impact of land use on crime, particularly the effects of non-residential land use in the form of facilities. Places like bars, motels, schools, convenience stores, and check-cashing centers have been examined in relation to crime to the point that it seems we now have a "criminology of the unpopular" (Wilcox and Eck in Criminol Public Policy 10(2):473-482, 2011), whereby places of a particular type are assumed to inherently offer crime opportunity. However, other theoretical and empirical work suggests that facility type may not matter and that specific characteristics and contexts associated with crime opportunity at places should be measured as opposed to assuming that broad categories of land uses typically generate crime (e.g., Brantingham and Brantingham in Stud Crime Crime Prev 8(1):7-26, 1999; Eck et al. in Crime Prev Stud 21:225, 2007; Hart and Miethe in Secur J 27(2):180-193, 2014; Smith et al. in Criminology 38(2):489-524, 2000; Wilcox and Eck in Criminol Public Policy 10(2):473-482, 2011). As an exploratory test of this latter idea, the present study uses observational data collected repeatedly at a small number of places over a one-year period - including land-use types that are not typically associated with crime (i.e., gardens) - in order to examine whether land-use parcels of the same type but with differing criminal opportunities have differing levels of crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-81
Number of pages21
JournalCrime Prevention and Community Safety
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Law


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