Local businesses as attractors or preventers of neighborhood disorder


While businesses may attract potential offenders and thus be conducive to disorder, the number of employees could offset this by exercising social control on offenders. This study uses data from different sources to test this expectation across 278 Dutch neighborhoods in the four largest cities of the Netherlands, using multivariate multilevel analysis to disentangle individual perception differences of disorder and neighborhood effects. Attention is paid to traditional explanations of disorder (i.e., poverty, residential mobility, and ethnic heterogeneity). Results show a positive relationship between business presence and neighborhood disorder. We do not find consistent results of the number of employees (i.e., bigger businesses are not always better or worse). Our research demonstrates that the presence of neighborhood businesses could rival the effects of social disorganization theory.

In Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency