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Spatial Distribution of Random Gunfire: A Block-Level Investigation of Physical and Social Structural Conditions

NCJ Number
American Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 24 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2000 Pages: 217-233
Date Published
17 pages

This paper examines the environmental and social structural correlates associated with random gunfire incidents.


The study group consisted of 273 face blocks and intersections in a selected portion of Dallas, TX. Some locations routinely generated random gunfire, while others remained gunshot-free. The study examined physical observation data aggregated to the face block and intersection level of analysis, 1990 census data at the block centroid level of analysis and police calls for service data. The paper suggests that areas with high incidence of random gunfire could be environmentally and demographically similar, and emphasizes the importance of determining the physical and social structural features which characterize gunfire- and non-gunfire-prone communities. Such data could prove useful in the design and development of reduction and prevention efforts. Interpretation of this study data must consider that the analysis is exploratory and may overlook other important factors; the research site was chosen because of its outlier status; and these data might obscure important temporal and seasonal variations in random gunfire. Diurnal and nocturnal patterns, along with weather, might affect things like traffic patterns, foliage levels and resident activity patterns. Tables, references

Date Published: January 1, 2000