The Relationship Between Voting and Crime: a Neighborhood-Level Analysis
Why do people vote? Casting a ballot on election day is not just a way to show support for a particular candidate, it also embeds an individual into collective society. Knack argues that voting is a social norm, or a collectively understood rule that prescribes human behavior as defined by Cialdini. Coleman theorizes that voting is an example of social conformity, which he defines as the alignment of people’s thinking or behavior with a societal or group norm. Coleman also discovered a parabolic relationship between voter turnout and crime rate at the state and county level. However, few studies have examined whether this relationship is true at the neighborhood level. In order to see whether the patterns observed by Coleman might be reproduced at a much finer spatial scale, the interaction between voting and crime needs to be studied at the neighborhood level. Thus, my research focuses on how voter behavior influences crime rates at a neighborhood level. The question I seek to address is: What is the relationship between voting behavior and crime at the neighborhood level, and what is the spatial structure of this relationship?