Sustainability and Social Justice

Document Type



This study analyzes the perception of safety among residents of Main South neighborhood in Worcester, MA, USA and compares it to reported crimes. This neighborhood is the focus of a community-based crime reduction project funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the policy development arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. We collected social disorder and violent crime data from the Worcester Police Department and conducted 129 household surveys to understand residents’ perception of safety in the neighborhood and trust in community institutions. The surveys included a map on which residents indicated where they felt unsafe. The goal of this research was twofold: (1) to use geographic information systems (GIS) to analyze the differences in perception of neighborhood safety by gender and length of residency in the neighborhood and (2) to explore the relationship between reported crime and perception of safety in the community. Findings indicate that the strength of the correlation between perceived safety and reported crime varies and that gender and length of residency are significant factors that shape perceptions of safety. Implications of this research suggest the need for comprehensive community-based development initiatives to offer differentiated strategies that address a broad range of safety perceptions and crime experiences among a diverse group of residents.

Publication Title

ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information

Publication Date











crime mapping, crime perception, GIS, sketch maps



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Included in

Sociology Commons



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