Interrogating the “Murder Centre of South Africa”: Estimating Homicide Rates for Small Area Geographies in Cape Town, South Africa

Authors: Sara Peterson*, University at Buffalo, Abigail Cooke, University at Buffalo, Sara Metcalf, University at Buffalo
Topics: Quantitative Methods, Population Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: rate standardization, small areas, spatial distribution, spatial mismatch, risk estimation, South Africa
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Hoover, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


For the study of crime, disease, and other spatially distributed phenomena of interest, standardizing count data by underlying populations facilitates the meaningful comparison of relative risk for populations across different times and places. However, significant barriers to such standardization are faced by researchers studying small geographic areas where the capacity for collecting and reporting demographic information is limited. These challenges may include population data that do not spatially or temporally align with count data. Moreover, the quality of standardized data depends on the accuracy of both the count data and the population data used for standardization. This study provides a set of methods to overcome these challenges to standardization efforts by estimating homicide rates for small area geographies in Cape Town, South Africa. In so doing, this study demonstrates how such an approach can provide useful insight into the spatial distribution of phenomena of interest.

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