Summary of Findings
Our analysis of street robbery incidents in Portland from 1995 to 2010 indicates that the risk for victimization is not consistent across time, place, or person. Of particular note is the finding that street robbery has decreased substantially over the past 15 years, from 1,208 incidents in 1995 to 486 incidents in 2010, a decline of 60%. Other temporal factors associated with victimization risk were time of day and day of week. We found that street robberies were more common between 8:00pm and midnight, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights.
Victimization risk has also shifted over time in regards to locations or hotspots, increasing in a small number of areas and decreasing considerably in others. For instance, the relative volume of street robbery has decreased substantially for inner North East Portland and shifted further to the East. Overall, however, the volume of street robbery has decreased sufficiently so that most areas of Portland are now much safer than they were in 1995.
We also found that a person’s risk for victimization varies based on his/her demographic factors. Younger individuals and males are at much greater risk of being victimized in a street robbery. This finding is important, because the people who often report the greatest fear of crime, women and older adults, are actually at lower risk for victimization with this offense. These data point a need for prevention efforts targeting young males in our city.
Similarly, racial groups in Portland are victimized at different rates. In particular, the rate of street robbery victimization for individuals who identify as Black or a combination of Black and another race is considerably higher than the rate for Whites. Asians by contrast, have a victimization rate that is lower than Whites. While certain demographic factors are associated with higher and lower risk for street robbery victimization, it is also worth noting that the declines in victimization over the past 10 years have benefited all groups. In particular, people identifying themselves as Black have seen their victimization rate cut nearly in half.
For more information on Street Robbery including recommendations for prevention see the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing.