Skip to main content

Table 1 Built environmental and socio-economic factors used to explore association between homicide rate and neighbourhood characteristics in Toronto 2012-2021

From: Homicide rates are spatially associated with built environment and socio-economic factors: a study in the neighbourhoods of Toronto, Canada

Dimension Indicator Description Rationale Status Data source(s)
Socio-economic (N = 15) V1: Population density Dividing the total number of people by the total land area (km2) Population density can be associated with high rates of violent crime in urban areas [40] 5 1
V2: Average household income Average after-tax income of households ($) Low income and income poverty can play an important role in the occurrence of violent behaviour and crime [37] 3 1
V3: Unemployment rate Unemployed population/total population in the labour force aged 15 years and over ×100 There is an association between unemployment rates and the occurrence of violent behaviour, such as homicide [36] 4 1
V4: Rate of adults lacking tertiary education Population lacking tertiary education/total population aged 15 years and over ×100 Lack of tertiary education can associate with many crimes, including violent ones and homicide [31] 2 1
V5: Visible minority rate Total visible minority population/total population×100 Some studies [7, 39] have shown that violent crimes rates are higher among ethnic and racial minorities 3 1
V6: Sex ratio Total number of males/total number of females×100 Evolutionary behavioural models suggest that when the sex ratio is high (more available men than women), violence against women is more likely to occur [81] 4 1
V7: Residential instability This measure refers to area-level concentrations of people who experience high rates of family or housing instability, weighted average residential instability score - higher values mean more instability Social disorganization theorists argue that residential instability can associate with the local violence crime rate by disrupting residential networks that are protective factors against crime [18] 2 2
V8: Material deprivation Material deprivation is closely connected to poverty and it refers to inability for individuals and communities to access and attain basic material needs. The indicators included in this dimension measure quality of housing, educational attainment and family structure characteristics [82]. Weighted average residential instability score – higher values mean more instability Some studies have shown that homicide rates were higher in urban areas with higher material deprivation [83] 5 2
V9: Ethnic concentration Proportion of the population who self-identify as a visible minority, weighted average material deprivation score – higher values mean more deprivation Some studies revealed that ethnic concentration exhibits a significantly positive but spatially different association with violent crime rates [30] 2 2
V10: Dependency ratio Dependency ratio (total population 0-14 and 65+ / total population 15 to 64), weighted average dependency score – higher values mean more dependency Some studies have shown that in urban areas with high dependency rates, violent crime rates are also high [84, 85] 1 2
V11: Mobility status Mobility status 5 years ago – 25% sample data= total movers/total population × 100 High rates of geographic mobility (movement over time), High rates of geographical displacement in urban neighborhoods, while disrupting social organization, increase the possibility of crime [86, 87] 1 1
V12: Youth rate Youth 15-34 years old/total population×100 Some studies have shown that crime rates are higher than normal when the youth proportion in the population is high [23]; youth commit more crimes in easily accessible places and where there is less social control [7, 47, 48] 3 1
V13; Rate of rented homes Total number of renter households/total number of private households×100 The highest crime rates are in neighbour-hoods where a significant portion of all homes are rented [32] 3 1
V14: Rate of homes needing major repairs The number of private households whose dwellings are in need of major repairs/total number of private households×100 Urban decay and deterioration of buildings can turn neighbourhoods into areas where crime commonly occurs [62, 88] 3 1
  V15: Unsuitable house rate Total number of private households who are living in unsuitable accommodations /Total number of private households×100 Poor housing condition is a potential risk factor for crimes and may be associated with areas with higher crime rates [89] 3 2
Built-environment (N = 10) V16: Property units The total number of property units/total land area (km2) As confirmed by some studies, the classic argument is that urban high density areas offers opportunities for violent crimes [90, 91] 3 3
V17: Commercial establishments The total number of commercial places/total land area (km2) The rate of violent crimes, especially property theft, is higher in commercial spaces than in other spaces and may associate with homicide [41] 5 3
V18: Sport places The total number of sport places/total land area (km2) Some studies [42, 47, 48] have shown that rates of violent crimes, especially those committed by young people, are high in public areas and sports places 1 2
V19: Places of interest The total number of places of interest/total land area (km2) Recreational and interesting spaces may be a target for thieves due to overcrowding and disputes may lead to violence [61, 92]. 3 3
V20: Intersections Dividing the total number of road intersections by total land area (km2) Intersections provide opportunities for death by shooting, intentional car crashes or during escapes from crime scenes [44] 3 3
V21: Public secondary schools The total number of public secondary school locations/total land area (km2) Schools are often examined in relation to delinquent behaviour [46, 93, 94] and this environment may protect youths at risk of delinquency [47] 3 3
V22: Large buildings The total number of buildings that includes >5 independent homes/total land area (km2) Large, crowded buildings are more prone to all kinds of crime and violence [43, 95] 5 3
V23: Parking lots The total number of parking lots/total land area (km2) Some studies have shown that the incidence of violent crimes, such as homicide, is higher in certain places such as parking lots [96] 2 3
V24: Subway stations The total number of subway stations/total land area (km2) According to surveys, crime rates are high near subway stations [97]. High crowds at subway stations have the potential to lead to violent crimes such as robbery that lead to homicide [98] 1 3
V25: Public parks The total number of municipality public parks/total land area (km2) Some studies have reported high rates of violence and violent crime in public parks [99, 100] 1 3
  1. WT Wellbeing Toronto, V Variable
  2. Status in this study: 1= Excluded by Pearson correlation; 2=Excluded by the first exploratory regression analysis, 3=Excluded by the second exploratory regression analysis, 4= Excluded by the OLS model, 5= Used in final model (GWR and MGWR)
  3. Data source(s): 1=Wellbeing Toronto (http://toronto.ca/wellbeing); 2=Ontario Marginalization Index (ON-Marg), http://www.ontariohealthprofiles.ca/onmargON.php; 3=The City of Toronto’s Open Data Portal (https://www.open.toronto.ca)