Segregation, inequality and crime: Examining the link across Australian neighbourhoods

Dr Michelle Sydes1, Associate Professor  Rebecca  Wickes2

1University of Queensland , Brisbane, Australia, 2Monash University , Melbourne , Australia

Segregation is argued to weaken social controls and undermine a community’s regulatory capacity through mechanisms associated with social inequality and social isolation. However, empirical support for this relationship is far from conclusive. To date, most segregation-crime studies concentrate on segregation patterns at the city level using indices that ignore the spatiality of segregation. In this paper we employ highly spatialized measures of local residential segregation to unpack the relationship between segregation, inequality and crime across 297 neighbourhoods located in two Australian cities with differing immigration histories and ethnic compositions. Drawing on survey, census and crime data, we additionally consider the role collective efficacy plays in mediating or moderating the association between segregation, inequality and crime.


Michelle Sydes is a Research Fellow at the School of Social Science at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Her research is primarily interested in examining communities over time with particular focus on how changes in immigration, disadvantage and residential segregation impact neighbourhood crime. Michelle uses innovative statistical techniques to further enhance our knowledge of the temporal and spatial dimensions of communities and crime.

Rebecca Wickes is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Sciences at Monash University where she is the Director of the Monash Migration and Inclusion Centre and the convener of the criminology program. She is also the Chief Investigator of the Australian Community Capacity Study (ACCS), a multi-million, multi-site, longitudinal study of 298 urban neighbourhoods in Victoria and Queensland. Her research focuses on the spatial concentration of social problems with a particular focus on how physical and demographic changes in urban communities influence social cohesion, the informal regulation of crime, crime and victimisation.



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