Gun-related Crime in the City of Detroit; Exploring the Dynamics of Firearm Availability and Population Characteristics

Authors: Samuel Owusu-Agyemang*, University of Toledo, Yanqing Xu, University of Toledo
Topics: Spatial Analysis & Modeling, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Quantitative Methods
Keywords: Crime, Guns, Detroit, Firearms, GIS, Spatial Analysis, Statistics
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Grand Ballroom E, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The linkage between firearms and violent crime has been documented in several criminological research, with varying standpoints. This study explores the relationship between gun availability and gun-related violent crimes, using the City of Detroit, Michigan as a case study. Based on the primary role of Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs) as a spigot for the flow of firearms into communities, spatial accessibility to FFL locations is used as a measure of gun availability. Global regression models are used to investigate the association between gun-related crime rates and spatial accessibility to FFL locations. Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) is also employed to assess the spatial variation of the observed pattern across the study area. In the global models (OLS, Spatial Lag and Spatial Error), gun availability and population variables explained 40% - 47% of the variation in crime rates. The Local model (GWR) accounted for 52%. The analysis shows a significant positive effect of licensed gun availability on gun-related crime rates, when significant population characteristics are accounted for. Based on the findings, the location and activities of FFLs may be a contributing factor in the rates of gun-related crimes.

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