Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level



Sociology and Criminology


Grant Drawve

Committee Member

Casey Harris

Second Committee Member

Kayla Allison


Crime, Religion, Spatial Analysis


Research Topic and Gap(s): Previous studies often show negative relationships between religiosity and participation in criminal acts. However, much of the literature revolving around this topic employs a micro-level approach that looks at the religiosity of individuals instead of a macro-level approach that looks at the religiosity of communities. Because this relationship has often been studied from a micro-level perspective, a gap in the literature surrounding macro-level relationships has formed. More specifically, the potential for places of worship to act as buffers against crime has been relatively understudied which furthers the importance of filling this gap in the literature to understand the spatial relationship between the presence of a place of worship and the potential protective effect it may have against crime.

Theoretical Orientation: The current study employs a theoretical foundation rooted in the Routine Activities Theory and Place Management.

Research Approach: This study employs both a spatial and quantitative research design to understand the relationships between places of worship and crime occurrence. Data for the current study were collected from both the City of Little Rock and the HIFLD Database, “All Places of Worship”. Our sample size for the analysis included 33,368 crimes in the City of Little Rock as recorded by the police department and 186 places of worship as recorded by the HIFLD All Places of Worship Database. Microsoft Excel and ArcGIS Pro were used to clean, code, and analyze the data allowing for spatial analytical tools to be employed to investigate the relationship between physical places of worship and crime occurrence.

Research Implications: This study results in implications that further the knowledge on how places of worship fall in the environmental criminology literature. Additionally, the study adds to a small literature base involving macro-level relationships between places of worship and crime.

Available for download on Sunday, June 30, 2024