Testing theft transmission in and around São Paulo metro stations, Brazil

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - south america, place - urban, mode - subway/metro, planning - personal safety/crime


Crime generator, Crime attractor, Granger tests, Underground, Police records


Metro stations are criminogenic places that radiate and/or absorb crime. In this paper, we assess potential theft transmission in these places and their surrounding areas using police recorded data from the São Paulo metro system in Brazil. The study classifies whether metro stations are crime absorbers, crime radiators, or both, by time of day and day of the week. Time series data were used to test the empirical model (panel vector autoregressive) and Granger tests for temporal precedence. Findings show that ‘theft waves’ recorded in the metro stations often precede in time those that occur in the stations' surrounding areas. However, on weekdays, during off-peak hours, the opposite might happen: stations absorb some of the crime that spills over from criminogenic surrounding areas into the stations. Since there is evidence of transmission of crime from one environment to another, in both directions, better cooperation between police responsible for security in the surrounding areas and the metro security staff might improve crime prevention initiatives in these transit settings.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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