Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Stephanie, Ann Bohon

Committee Members

Kasey Henricks, Kurti Zhandarka, Alex A. Moulton, Shaw, Shih-Lung, Chien-fei Chen


Neighborhood concentrated disadvantage is a composite social factor that quantifies the quality of neighborhoods in urban areas. Criminal activity and victimization are more prevalent in disadvantaged neighborhoods. However, whether housing market factors (e.g., eviction, foreclosure, and subprime lending) represent an unrecognized dimension of neighborhood concentrated disadvantage remains unknown. I contribute to the neighborhood disadvantage literature by assessing whether three housing market factors (eviction, foreclosure, and subprime lending) are a neglected part of neighborhood concentrated disadvantaged that explains criminal activity and victimization. Furthermore, I investigate whether housing market factors mediate the relationship between concentrated disadvantage and crime. Last, using spatial analysis techniques, I examine the spatial patterns of neighborhood concentrated disadvantage and crime in terms of three housing market factors in the city of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Data are collected from different agencies: the Knoxville Police Department, the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Knox County Civil Sessions Court, the Knox County Register of Deeds, and federal filings as part of the FFIEC Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. My results indicate that eviction, foreclosure, and subprime loan have a complex relationship to neighborhood concentrated disadvantage as it predicts crime. Moreover, although housing market factors are not mediating the relationship between concentrated disadvantage and crime, concentrated disadvantage mediates the relationship between eviction and crime.

I find there are spatial differences in crime rates across 86 census tracts in Knoxville. Crime rates in Knoxville are spatially interdependent, suggesting that for crime increase in a census tract, it leads to crimes occurring in neighboring census tracts. Eviction and foreclosure are spatially clustered, while subprime loan shows a spatial dissimilar pattern across the city. High eviction and foreclosure census tracts are surrounded by high crime census tracts, but low subprime loan census tracts are surrounded by high crime census tracts. These neighborhoods are mainly in the downtown Knoxville and its outer areas.

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