Title

The Effect of Virtual Civic Engagement on Crime: SeeClickFix in New Haven

Website

http://danielspakowicz.me/VCEandCrime/

Description

Mobile virtual communities are an emerging space for improving social cohesiveness and promoting collective efficacy. The application SeeClickFix is a smartphone and web application developed in New Haven, Connecticut, where users report issues in their communities including non-violent crimes. These posts can be supported and commented on by other users and local government agencies acknowledge and address issues. The data are publicly available, providing a data-rich and transparent venue for monitoring the interaction of individuals with each other and city representatives. The purpose of our study is to look for correlations between SeeClickFix use and crime. We hypothesize that SeeClickFix activity reduces crime by increasing social cohesion and promoting collective efficacy. Preliminary analyses show that within each neighborhood, months with more SeeClickFix posts tend to have fewer crimes. In addition, the crime rate is lower after the creation of SeeClickFix relative to before. These data suggest that SeeClickFix use is correlated with reduced crime in New Haven. Further efforts are needed to establish if there is a causal relationship and if so by what mechanism. This work has the potential to suggest a method by which communities can increase transparency and reduce crime through an open data platform.

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The Effect of Virtual Civic Engagement on Crime: SeeClickFix in New Haven

Mobile virtual communities are an emerging space for improving social cohesiveness and promoting collective efficacy. The application SeeClickFix is a smartphone and web application developed in New Haven, Connecticut, where users report issues in their communities including non-violent crimes. These posts can be supported and commented on by other users and local government agencies acknowledge and address issues. The data are publicly available, providing a data-rich and transparent venue for monitoring the interaction of individuals with each other and city representatives. The purpose of our study is to look for correlations between SeeClickFix use and crime. We hypothesize that SeeClickFix activity reduces crime by increasing social cohesion and promoting collective efficacy. Preliminary analyses show that within each neighborhood, months with more SeeClickFix posts tend to have fewer crimes. In addition, the crime rate is lower after the creation of SeeClickFix relative to before. These data suggest that SeeClickFix use is correlated with reduced crime in New Haven. Further efforts are needed to establish if there is a causal relationship and if so by what mechanism. This work has the potential to suggest a method by which communities can increase transparency and reduce crime through an open data platform.

http://elischolar.library.yale.edu/dayofdata/2016/posters/4