Arson and American City Types

Leon E. Pettiway

DOI: 10.2190/KTVK-FU14-1NV7-3CK4


This research, utilizing data from the County and City Data Book and the Uniform Crime Reports, investigates the distribution of arson in 727 American cities with populations over 25,000. The concern is to uncover not only the salient dimensions of urbanization that describe homogeneous clusters, but to ascertain whether the derived clusters condition high or low rates of arson. Try on and Bailey's Key Cluster Analysis (BC TRY) delineates five dimensions of urbanization from which fifteen types of cities are derived. By extending the classification procedure, the research demonstrates that low arson rates occur under a variety of environmental conditions. High arson rates, on the other hand, seem to occur in two basic types of cities: 1) those with low socioeconomic status and high crime, and 2) those with low taxes and low expenditures per capita.

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