Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (iv, 141 pages) : color maps.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Joanne Kaufman

Committee Members

Steven F Messner, David M Hureau, Tse-Chuan Yang


group threat, Police-involved homicide, spatial analysis, Police shootings, Police brutality, Racial profiling in law enforcement, Police misconduct, African Americans, Wrongful death, Spatial analysis (Statistics), Discrimination in law enforcement, Discrimination in criminal justice administration, Police-community relations

Subject Categories

Criminology | Sociology


The recent advent of the Black Lives Matter movement has reinvigorated criminological inquiry into police violence. Recent advances in spatial analysis have opened new opportunities for understanding the spatial relationship between social structure and police violence. Spatial analysis is both statistically and substantively important to our understanding of police-involved-homicide (PIH), yet few studies have attempted to marry recent advances in spatial econometrics to this topic. The current study introduces spatial Durbin modeling (SDM) as a particularly useful approach to studying the spatial relationships between variables associated with group threat theory and PIH. Previous research has demonstrated the connections between group threat and PIH, however, the relationship has been tenuous. The incorporation of spatial factors into the equation allows for greater precision in our understanding of not only why these tragic events occur, but also where. To answer these questions, I build on previous research incorporating crowdsourced data on PIH from 2013-2019, with data from the 2012 American Community Survey, and the 2012 Uniform Crime Report. Findings from this study suggest that racial threat is not a significant predictor of police-involved homicide. Additionally, I find that economic threat, specifically the Gini coefficient and concentrated disadvantage exhibit significant direct effects on police-involved homicide, but the Gini coefficient also exhibits a significant positive indirect effect on police-involved homicide. Violent crime also exhibits a significant positive indirect effect. Overall, the present study sheds light on the effects of neighboring counties on focal county police-involved homicide and extends the application of group-threat into the spatial realm.

Included in

Criminology Commons