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Criminality in the Biggest Cities in Colombia: Evidence on the Concentration at the Street Segment Level 

The purpose of this study is to analyze criminality in the four biggest cities in Colombia -Bogotá, Cali, Medellín and Barranquilla- using crime data at the street segment level. To do so, we propose an aggregate crime index consisting of the sum of the five most frequently and accurately reported types of crime (i.e. homicide, personal injury, car theft, robbery, and drug trafficking/production), weighted by their average sentence in years according to the Colombian Penal Code. We calculate the distribution and concentration of criminality by street segments using this crime index. In addition, we identify and map hot spots of crime as well as crime trajectories using data from the last seven years. Finally, we estimate some regression models in order to assess the relationship between street segment characteristics related to the theory of opportunity and street segment patterns of crime. The data used in this study corresponds to administrative data from the Colombian National Police for the years 2007- 2012. We also use a wave of geo-coded data on the number of establishments near the street segments such as hospitals, police stations, schools, malls, government facilities, etc. The results show evidence of high concentrations of crime within the cities. All the homicides during the period 2011-2012 occurred in less than 5% of the street segments in each of the four cities. Likewise, all the criminal incidents included in the aggregate crime index occurred in less than 30% of the street segments. As found in Weisburd et al. (2012), we find that such levels of concentration are persistent over time.