The Context of Arson Incidence: Neighborhood and Environmental Factors

Leon E. Pettiway

DOI: 10.2190/0RJW-T4GX-QYYB-VF24


Research demonstrates that indices of social disorganization and physical structure are associated with crime. Since the indices of these variables "interact" to form areas with different social and physical characteristics, arson rates should vary from one environmental cluster to another. This research addresses the importance of the neighborhood effect in light of the individual effects of urban structure by addressing three basic questions: (1) Does neighborhood-type membership contribute to the prediction or arson? (2) Do factors that explain arson rate for the city as a whole have the same slopes across neighborhood types, or are there significant interactions associated with these factors, and how good is the additive model? (3) Are different preventive strategies necessary for different neighborhood types or can a single citywide strategy be used regardless of the particular social and demographic character of neighborhoods? These questions are addressed by using 2,476 arsons committed in the city of Houston during 1978-1979. The research uses a combination of BCTRY cluster analysis, analysis of variance, and regression analysis.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.