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Are Community Service Programs Correlates of Crime Rates in South Carolina?
Carman Fowler1 & Nikki R. Wooten, PhD, LISW-CP2
University of South Carolina
Department of Psychology1, College of Social Work2
Community service programs are associated with several
correlates of crime, such as household income, educational level,
neighborhood context, residential mobility, and health status.
They can provide financial aid, afterschool mentorship,
neighborhood restoration, and health screenings. These
programs also build relationships within communities; develop
neighborhoods at institutional, structural, and economic levels;
and engage citizens to work towards sustainable change. Prior
research suggests neighborhood context is associated with
criminal behavior, but little research has examined the
association between community service programs and crime
• This was a cross-sectional study using secondary data from multiple
• Crime data on the number of property, violent, and crimes against
society occurring in each county was obtained from the 2012 National
Incident Based-Reporting System (NIBRS), an annual report distributed
by the FBI.
• Community service program data were obtained from the online
databases of the United Way of South Carolina and the South Carolina
Information Highway. These databases are self-reporting in that the
programs included report their own data.
• Regional and county-level socio-demographic and geographical data
were obtained from Census 2010.
• Data were analyzed by South Carolina regions (n = 4; Lowcountry,
PeeDee, Midlands, Upstate) and counties (n = 46).
• Descriptive and bivariate analyses were conducted run to determine the
correlations between the total crime rate for South Carolina regions and
counties, as well as the crime rates for crimes against persons, property,
or society, and the number of CS programs located in the county or
Miss Fowler and Dr. Wooten acknowledge the support of the TRIO McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program and the Magellan Guarantee from the University of South Carolina Office of Undergraduate Research.
Contact Information: C. Fowler: firstname.lastname@example.org; N. R. Wooten: email@example.com
Crimes against Persons Crimes against Property Crimes against Society
Crimes against persons include assault offenses, aggravated
assault, simple assault, intimidation, homicide offenses, murder,
manslaughter, justifiable homicide, kidnapping/abduction, sex
offenses, rape, sexual assault, sodomy incest, and statutory
Crimes against property include arson, bribery, burglary,
counterfeiting/forgery, embezzlement, extortion/blackmail,
fraud, swindling, ATM fraud, impersonation, welfare fraud, wire
fraud, larceny, theft, pocket-picking, purse-snatching, shoplifting,
theft from a building, motor vehicle, motor vehicle theft, robbery.
Crimes against society include drug offenses, drug equipment
violations, gambling offenses, betting, weapon violations,
operating/promoting/assisting gambling, gambling equipment
violations, sports tampering, pornography/obscene material,
prostitution, assisting or promoting prostitution.
COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAMS & CRIMINAL OFFENSES BY SOUTH CAROLINA REGIONS AND COUNTIES
Community Service Programs & Total Criminal Offenses
• Community service programs are social correlates to criminal behavior in South Carolina.
• For the Upstate and the Midlands, there was a significant correlation between the number of community service
programs and high crime rates.
• In the Lowcountry, there was a low, moderate correlation, and for the PeeDee region there was no correlation
between community service program and crime rates.
• More community service programs are present in counties and regions with higher rates of crime
• Correlations between CS programs and crime rates could be due to the possibility that in regions with higher crime
rates there is a more recognized need for programs focused on the root causes of criminal behavior.
• The presence and location of CS programs can potentially impact criminal behavior, community well-being, and
sustainable neighborhood resources.
• Future research should focus on the multilevel factors (individual, neighborhood, and environmental) associated with
criminal behaviors in specific geographical regions.
DISCUSSION & IMPLICATIONS
• Determine the location of community service (CS) programs
relative to total criminal offenses in South Carolina by county
• Determine the property and violent crime rates of different
• Determine if CS programs are social correlates with crime
rates in South Carolina regions and counties.
LEGEND LEGEND LEGEND
**Significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
*Significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).