How Mobility and Accessibility Affect Crime Rates: Insights from Mobile Device Location Data


This research study will investigate the possible correlations between mobility, accessibility, and crime rate. A rich mobile device location dataset including detailed anonymized location traces of the mobile devices observed in the city of Baltimore will be combined with the police arrest records to study how mobility and accessibility affect neighborhood safety. The research team will first process and analyze the mobile device location dataset to obtain measures of mobility and accessibility. These measures will be different from the traditional measures in that they will be obtained based on the empirically observed location data. The research team will then build statistical and machine learning tools to model crime rates at zone level and corridor level, using the calculated mobility and accessibility measures, land use variables, and economy-related variables as the covariates. Subsequently, the team will focus on the correlation of the crime rates with the mobility and accessibility variables. The study seeks to inform the decision makers about the transportation-related issues contributing to the lack of safety and offer transportation solutions to crime-related problems, specially at the neighborhoods suffering from high crime rates.

Universities and Sponsoring Organization Involved

University of Maryland

U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the Secretary-Research

Principal Investigators

Dr. Lei Zhang,

Funding Sources and Amounts

USDOT: $100,000

Start Date

Oct. 1, 2019

Expected Completion Date

March 30, 2021

Expected Research Outcomes

• Data driven mobility and accessibility measures
• A model of crime rate at zone and corridor levels
• Correlation analysis between mobility, accessibility, and crime rate
• Suggested transportation solutions for neighborhoods with high crime rate

Expected Equity Impacts and Benefits of Implementation

The study will have a special focus on zones suffering from high crime rates. The study will seek to find solutions helping with the equity in neighborhood safety.

Subject Areas

Mobile Device Location Data, Mobility, Accessibility, High-Crime Neighborhoods