American graffiti: Spatial analysis of petty crime in New York City
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Graffiti, although heralded as an emerging art form by some, is a significant nuisance to urban residents throughout the world. Graffiti can devalue property, drive away retail business, and cause city residents to feel less safe in their own neighborhoods. Although officials have managed to reduce the amount of graffiti in New York City, it still remains an issue in 2011. This research hypothesizes that graffiti in New York City exhibits patterns of clustering or dispersion as compared average levels of graffiti within the city. The research aims to characterize the distribution of reported graffiti in New York City, both in the aggregate and over time. The aggregate distribution identifies "hot spots", where graffiti is found more frequently than it would on average. Previous studies of graffiti are reviewed to find potential independent variables that correlate with the distribution of graffiti. These variables are used to build an ordinary least squares regression model, with the distribution of graffiti as the dependent variable. This analysis identifies variables that correlate with the distribution of graffiti, thereby identifying demographic or built-environment characteristics that may have an influence on the amount of graffiti in a particular area of New York City. Ultimately, this study characterizes the areas of the city that have been particularly successful at combating graffiti, or where anti-graffiti efforts should focus more.