Journeys to Crime: Assessing the Effects of a Light Rail Line on Crime in the Neighborhoods

Journal of Public Transportation Article in Volume 6, Issue 3 (2003) by Robin Liggett, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, and Hiroyuki Iseki 

Abstract

The implementation of new transit lines is sometimes dogged by concerns that such lines may increase crime rates in station neighborhoods. Affluent communities have often complained that transit lines transport crime to the suburbs. This study focuses on the Green Line transit system in Los Angeles and examines its effects on crime in the adjacent areas. The Green Line light rail system passes through some high-crime, inner-city neighborhoods and terminates at its western end in affluent suburban communities. The study examines neighborhood level and municipality-wide crime trends for five years before and five years after the inception of the line. A piecewise regression model is developed to evaluate the impact of the opening of the line in the station neighborhoods. Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis is also utilized to identify spatial shifts in crime hot spots for the municipalities abutting the Green Line. The study finds little evidence that the transit line has had significant impacts on crime trends or crime dislocation in the station neighborhoods, nor has the line transported crime from the inner city to the suburbs. View the full article or the entire Journal issue.