Community-level impacts of temperature on urban street robbery

Evan T. Sorg, Ralph B. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Purpose: Conduct the first empirical intra-urban examination of community-level connections between street robbery and temperature. Examine whether community socioeconomic status (SES) and crime-relevant land uses strengthen or weaken the temperature impact. A theoretical framework relying on routine activity theory, crime pattern theory, and resident-based control dynamics organized predictions. Data and methods: For Philadelphia census tracts (n = 381), monthly street robbery counts and temperature data for 36 consecutive months were combined with census and land use data, and analyzed with multilevel models. Results: Community robbery counts were higher when temperatures were higher, and in lower SES communities. In support of previous work with property crime, but in contrast to previous work with assault, the effects of temperature were stronger in higher SES communities. In support of the integrated model, commercial land use prevalence and subway stations were associated with heightened temperature impacts on robbery. Conclusions: Community-level fixed and random effects of temperature on urban robbery counts persist when controlling for land use and community structure; further, the random effects depend in part on both. There are implications for understanding indigenous guardianship or informal resident-based place management dynamics, and for planning seasonal police deployments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-470
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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