Crime & Justice Policy

Neighborhood Effects on Crime in San Francisco: An Examination of Residential, Nonresidential, and “Mixed” Land Uses

Wo, J.C.; Kim, Y.A.


Communities and crime research presumes that purely nonresidential land uses are associated with more crime, whereas purely residential land use is associated with less crime. However, few studies have evaluated this prevailing assumption in tandem with the notion of “mixed” land use. Drawing on a sample of San Francisco census blocks, this study examines the neighborhood effects of several land use measures on crime counts using negative binomial regression. The results provide moderate support for the prevailing assumption; however, we also find that the effects of mixed land use are nuanced based on differing measurement approaches. Whereas two types of mixed-use buildings have differential effects on crime (i.e. commercial mixed-use and residential mixed-use) we determine that the amount of heterogeneity among eight specific land uses, next to or in direct proximity of each other, is consistently related to more crime. The implications of these findings for criminology and public policy are discussed.