Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Criminology

Major Professor

Wesley Jennings

Keywords

Guardianship, Household, Routine Activities, Security, Theft

Abstract

In recent years, a growing proportion of the population has moved into gated communities in response to an increasingly pandemic fear of crime. While a sizable body of research has addressed fear of crime and perceived safety in gated communities, few studies have investigated actual rates of victimization. The studies that do compare victimization in gated and non-gated communities tend to be localized assessments and present mixed findings on the effectiveness of community gating as a form of protection from crime.

The present study utilizes a cross-section of National Crime Victimization Survey data to investigate the micro-level effects of living in gated communities across the United States. Additionally, a routine activities approach is used to determine whether increasing levels of guardianship exhibit differential effects in gated versus non-gated communities. Findings from logit and rare events logit regression analyses generally suggest that living in a gated community does not significantly influence the likelihood of victimization, although in some cases the odds either increased or decreased. Other measures of guardianship exhibit a variety of positive and negative effects on victimization likelihood.

Suggestions for future research on gated communities and victimization include more comprehensive measurement of community- and household-level security as well as taking account of community characteristics such as informal social control and residential solidarity. Policy implications from this research include greater attention to gated community design and layout in order to reduce the likelihood of residents being victimized. In addition, residents may benefit from education on the actual risks of crime and realistic steps to reduce the likelihood of being targeted by potential offenders.

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