Date of Award

Winter 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Sociology & Criminal Justice

Committee Director

Ruth A. Triplett

Committee Member

Randy R. Gainey

Committee Member

Brent Teasdale


This research aimed to bridge a gap in the literature between banks, mortgage investment, and neighborhood crime. Specifically, the current research uses the political economy approach to social disorganization theory (Bursik 1989) as a theoretical frame to understand the role of external investment on neighborhood levels of crime. This research was guided by several research questions that are derived from the prior literature on banks, mortgage lending and crime. The primary research question was: How do banks affect neighborhood levels of crime? And secondly, how does residential lending affect crime?

These questions are investigated by combining several sources of available data. Crime data for 2012, 2008, and 2006 from Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia were acquired from the respective police departments. The data consisted of crimes known to the police and the addresses of the general locations where the crimes occurred. The mortgage lending data was from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council website, which was established by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. The third source of data was gathered from the Polk City Directories, which had the addresses of the banks. Lastly, the 2000 Census was used to create several control variables such as scales for residential instability and socioeconomic disadvantage that are included in the analyses.

Negative binominal regression, with the inclusion of spatial lags for the crime and mortgage variables, was the method of analysis. Negative binominal regression is commonly used in criminological research when the dependent variable is a count rather than a rate. Spatial analysis was included because it has emerged as an important component of understanding neighborhood characteristics and levels of crime.

The findings indicated that banks and lending do have an effect on neighborhood levels of crime. It was theorized that banks, either having one in the neighborhood or one nearby, would have a positive effect on neighborhoods. However the results indicate that banks are associated with increases in violent crime and acts of vandalism. For residential lending the findings support prior research that increases in loan dollars to neighborhoods is associated with decreases in violent crime.


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Included in

Criminology Commons