Seattle Neighborhoods and Crime Survey, 2002-2003 (ICPSR 28701)

Version Date: Dec 10, 2010 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Ross L. Matsueda, University of Washington

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The objective of the Seattle Neighborhoods and Crime Survey (SNCS) was to test multilevel theories of neighborhood social organization and criminal violence. It was funded by the National Science Foundation (SES-0004324), and the National Consortium on Violence Research (SBR-9513040). Using the concept of differential neighborhood organization, the investigators posited that neighborhood crime is a function of informal social control against crime and informal organization in favor of crime. Informal neighborhood control against crime consists of neighborhood attachment, social capital, and collective efficacy. The study tested the hypothesis that individual social ties are explained by a rational choice model, which in turn produces neighborhood social capital that can be used to achieve collective goals. It also tested the hypothesis that neighborhoods rich in social capital had greater collective efficacy, which in turn, helped produce safe neighborhoods. Organization in favor of crime consists of violent codes of the street. The study tested the hypothesis that residents from disadvantaged neighborhoods tend to distrust police and other agents of conventional institutions, and consequently are more likely to participate in street culture, in which violence is a way of obtaining street credibility and status, as well as resolving disputes. The project has also examined dimensions of neighboring, and the causes and consequences of fear of crime.

The study used a telephone survey of households within all 123 census tracts in the city of Seattle, WA, conducted in 2002-2003. The sampling frame was designed by investigators at the University of Washington, with three objectives in mind: (a) to gain a random sample of households within each of 123 census tracts; (b) to obtain a disproportionate number of racial and ethnic minorities using an ethnic oversample; and (c) to obtain a replication sample of Terrance Miethe's 1990 victimization survey in 100 Seattle neighborhoods [Testing Theories of Criminality and Victimization in Seattle, 1960-1990]. Specific samples were drawn by Genesys, a sampling firm in Philadelphia, PA, using a constantly-updated compilation of white pages. Telephone interviews were conducted by the Social and Behavioral Research Institute at California State University, San Marcos, using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) technology.

Respondents were asked about household demographics, such as race, gender, residential mobility, age distribution of the household, and income, their perceptions and assessments of their neighborhoods (including safety, disorder, and crime), neighbors, and relations with police. A variety of questions about neighboring were asked, including social capital (intergenerational closure, reciprocated exchange, and participation in neighborhood associations), attachment to their neighborhood, and collective efficacy (child-centered social control). Respondents were asked about routine activities including taking steps to protect their homes, spending time in bars and nightclubs, and leaving their home unattended. Questions about fear of crime included personal fear as well as altruistic fear for other members of the household, and questions about racial attitudes included residential preferences by race composition of the neighborhood. A victimization inventory modeled after the National Crime Victimization Survey was used for burglary, vandalism, stolen property, violence, and robbery. Demographic information includes age, race, sex, education, martial status, household income, whether respondent was a student, employment status, religious affiliation, approximate value of home, monthly rent including utilities, residence history in the last five years, whether respondent was born in the Unites States, and number of people currently living in the respondent's household.

Matsueda, Ross L. Seattle Neighborhoods and Crime Survey, 2002-2003. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-12-10.

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National Science Foundation (SES-0004324), National Consortium on Violence Research (SBR-9513040)
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
2002 -- 2003
2002 -- 2003 (Late 2002; Early 2003)

Missing values: All system-missing values (denoted as "." in the frequencies) were recoded to "-1" in the ICPSR version of the data file.

Sequential record identifier: ICPSR created a unique sequential record identifier variable named CASEID for use with online analysis.

Unknown Codes: Value labels for unknown codes were added in variables TRACTFLAG and Q34.

To preserve respondent confidentiality, codes for the variable TRACTID have been replaced with blank codes in the third part of the study (Meithe Sample).

Three separate sampling frames were used. First, the "Random Sample" was used to obtain a random sample of households within each of 123 census tracts in Seattle. This sample randomly selected two block groups from each of 123 census tracts and then randomly selected approximately nine households per block groups. This resulted in a sample of 2,220 households. Second, the "Ethnic Oversample" was used to obtain a disproportionate number of households within neighborhoods with high percentages of racial and ethnic minorities. The investigators identified the 141 block groups with the highest concentration of racial and ethnic minorities in Seattle. They then selected the 558 census blocks within these block groups with the highest racial and ethnic minorities, and randomly sampled two households per block. This resulted in a sample of 1,145 households. Third, the "Miethe Replication Sample" began with the 100 census tracts sampled by Terrance Miethe in his 1990 victimization survey [Testing Theories of Criminality and Victimization in Seattle, 1960-1990]. The investigators identified the six street segments in each census tract sampled by Miethe, and drew a random sample of approximately three households per street segment, resulting in a sample of 1,539 households spread over the 100 census tracts. (In a few cases, the street segments were extended slightly to meet the sample quota.) The result is a sample of 4,904 households spread over 123 census tracts. The number of households per census tract ranged from 21 to 110, with a mean of 47.

survey data

The AAPOR Cooperation Rate across the three samples was over 97 percent. The CASRO response rate was over 51 percent.


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Matsueda, Ross L. Seattle Neighborhoods and Crime Survey, 2002-2003. ICPSR28701-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-12-10.

2010-12-10 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

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