The Effect of Business Improvement Districts on the Incidence of Violent Crimes

Published in: Injury Prevention, Vol. 16, No. 5, Oct. 2010, p. 327-32

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2009

by John MacDonald, Daniela Golinelli, Robert J. Stokes, Ricky N. Bluthenthal

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OBJECTIVE: To examine whether business improvement districts (BID) contributed to greater than expected declines in the incidence of violent crimes in affected neighbourhoods. METHOD: A Bayesian hierarchical model was used to assess the changes in the incidence of violent crimes between 1994 and 2005 and the implementation of 30 BID in Los Angeles neighbourhoods. RESULTS: The implementation of BID was associated with a 12% reduction in the incidence of robbery (95% posterior probability interval -2 to 24) and an 8% reduction in the total incidence of violent crimes (95% posterior probability interval -5 to 21). The strength of the effect of BID on robbery crimes varied by location. CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that the implementation of BID can reduce the incidence of violent crimes likely to result in injury to individuals. The findings also indicate that the establishment of a BID by itself is not a panacea, and highlight the importance of targeting BID efforts to crime prevention interventions that reduce violence exposure associated with criminal behaviours.

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