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Does Income Inequality Explain the Geography of Residential Burglaries? The Case of Belo Horizonte, Brazil

Post-Doctoral Researcher, the National Institute of Space Research (INPE), Avenida dos Astronautas, São José dos Campos-SP 1758, Brazil
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8(10), 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi8100439
Received: 28 August 2019 / Revised: 21 September 2019 / Accepted: 3 October 2019 / Published: 7 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Crime Mapping and Analysis Using GIS)
The relationship between crime and income inequality is a complex and controversial issue. While there is some consensus that a relationship exists, the nature of it is still the subject of much debate. In this paper, this relationship is investigated in the context of urban geography and whether income inequality can explain the geography of crime within cities. This question is examined for the specific case of residential burglaries in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where I tested how much burglary rates are affected by local average household income and by local exposure to poverty, while I controlled for other variables relevant to criminological theory, such as land-use type, density and accessibility. Different scales were considered for testing the effect of exposure to poverty. This study reveals that, in Belo Horizonte, the rate of burglaries per single family house is significantly and positively related to income level, but a higher exposure to poverty has no significant independent effect on these rates at any scale tested. The rate of burglaries per apartment, on the other hand, is not significantly affected by either average household income or exposure to poverty. These results seem consistent with a description where burglaries follow a geographical distribution based on opportunity, rather than being a product of localized income disparity and higher exposure between different economic groups.
Keywords: Crime; burglary; mapping; GIS; spatial analysis; urban geography; human geography Crime; burglary; mapping; GIS; spatial analysis; urban geography; human geography
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ramos, R.G. Does Income Inequality Explain the Geography of Residential Burglaries? The Case of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8, 439.

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