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The Impact of Community Cohesion on Crime

Gulma, Usman Lawal (2018) The Impact of Community Cohesion on Crime. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Gulma_UL_Geography_PhD_2018.pdf - Final eThesis - complete (pdf)
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Community cohesion generally acts to increase the safety of communities by increasing informal guardianship, and enhancing the work of formal crime prevention organisations. Understanding the dynamics of local social interactions is essential for community building. However, community cohesion is difficult to empirically quantify, because there are no obvious and direct indicators of community cohesion collected at population levels within official datasets. A potentially more promising alternative for estimating community cohesion is through the use of data from social media. Social media offers an opportunity for exploring networks of social interactions in a local community. This research will use social media data to explore the impact of community cohesion on crime. Sentiment analysis of tweets can help to uncover patterns of community mood in different areas. Modelling of community engagement on Facebook is useful for understanding patterns of social interactions and the strength of social networks in local communities. The central contribution of this thesis is the use of new metrics that estimate popularity, commitment and virality known as the PCV indicators for quantifying community cohesion on social media. These metrics, combined with diversity statistics constructed from “traditional” Census data, provide a better correlate of community cohesion and crime. To demonstrate the viability of this novel method for estimating the impact of community cohesion, a model of community engagement and burglary rates is constructed using Leeds community areas as an example. By examining the diversity of different community areas and strength of their social networks, from traditional and new data sources; it was found that stability and strong social media engagement in a local area are associated with lower burglary rates. The proposed new method can provide a better alternative for estimating community cohesion and its impact on crime. It is recommended that policy planning for resource allocation and community building needs to consider social structure and social networks in different communities.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Community, Cohesion, Crime
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Geography (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr Usman Gulma
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2019 11:41
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2019 11:41
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22639

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