Physical places, social spaces, and guardianship faces: Exploring the configural influence of psychophysical contexts on crime


  • Lacey Schaefer


This paper questions whether guardianship presence, expectations, and action are a condition of the physical features of a place and the population flows that occur there, and how these different configurations inform community crime profiles.  This study explores these speculations with a conjunctive analysis of case configurations through combined census, geographic, population movement, and neighborhood survey data.  Across 146 Brisbane, Australia suburbs, results indicate that static features of places combine with population flows in ways that influence the different dimensions of guardianship, in turn impacting crime.  Most notably, crime rates are highest in neighborhoods characterized by high ambient populations but low levels of guardianship expectations. Conversely, lower crime rates are observed in communities with smaller ambient populations, less land use, and greater beliefs that residents would take crime control action if necessary. Guardianship presence and actual guardianship action appear to be less influential.