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School of Geography

Usman Gulma Usman Gulma

Contact details

Room 10.11
School of Geography
University of Leeds
University Road
Leeds LS2 9JT   UK



Project title:

The Impact of Community Cohesion on Crime

Project overview

The crime reduction effort is a collective responsibility of all citizens and not that of authorities alone. Latest figures (March, 2015) from Crime Statistics for England and Wales (CSEW) have shown a reduction in some crimes. For example, a total of 6.8 million incidents of crime against households were recorded in 2014 representing a 7% decrease from the previous year (2013). While theft offences from person and property decreased by 23% and 22%, violent crime, assault and sexual offences increased by 23%, 13% and 37% respectively from the previous year (Flatley, 2015). Despite this development, the rates of crime in Leeds which ranks 6.03 crimes per100 residents, though slightly lower than the national average (6.57/100) is still alarming compared to other UK cities (such as Birmingham 5.15/100 and Bradford 6.02/100) (Mirror, 2014). Community/police crime prevention partnership approaches are largely based on the premise that no single agency can deal with, or be responsible for, dealing with complex community safety and crime problems (Berry et al., 2011b). Therefore, crime reduction is perceived to rely, to a large extent, on the levels of social ties and collective action of the members of the community (Kubrin and Weitzer, 2003). Additionally, neighbourhood social networks have been found to have a mediating effects on crime (Kubrin and Weitzer, 2003) and hence recognised in policing strategies (Skogan, 1989). In the UK, for example, crime prevention as provided by the state puts on emphasis on political approaches through partnership (such as the Neighbourhood Watch) with the police, local government and local communities (Hope, 2001). This policy was backed by the Crime and Disorder Act of 1998 which provided impetus to the establishment of such partnerships.

Furthermore, previous researchers investigating the impact of social cohesion on crime have used various traditional surveys, undertaken periodically which make the information they provide rather uninspiring (Traunmueller et al., 2014). Additionally, predictive analysis based on past crime events, as characterised by traditional methods, may be erroneous (Bowers et al., 2004).

The technological developments which have culminated in the emergence of social media are changing the way social capital (a factor of social cohesion) is perceived, especially relating to life styles and crime prevention. For example, social networks are now being maintained through the internet especially through the social media (Facebook, emails and texts) (Babb, 2005) including LinkedIn and Myspace (Debenham, 2002). Twitter provides the most flexible platform among all social media networks for the exchange of information and strengthening of social ties across different communities (Gorman, 2013). This trend, therefore, demands new data sets that may help to explain what social cohesion is all about and the metrics to quantify it, especially in relation to crime. Moreover, researchers especially those concerned with social capital have argued that quantitative approaches provide a better understanding of social capital (a factor of community cohesion) (Walford et al., 2010). Therefore, the present research aims to explore new quantitative data sources such as social media in order to gain new insight into the relationship between community cohesion and crime.

Aim and Objectives

The main aim of this research project is to explore the impact of social cohesion in crime prevention through spatial analysis and use of social media.

The following specific objectives have been outlined:-

  1. To critically review the literature on the concept of community cohesion and its impacts on crime.
  2. To use a range of spatial analysis methods to perform a detailed analysis of the relationship between crime and urban community form.
  3. To investigate the feasibility of using new ‘big’ data sources (such as social media) to explore crime and community cohesion.
  4. To develop neighbourhood area classification profiles based on a new perception of community cohesion in a range of geographical locations of the study area at LSOA levels.
  5. To develop a new understanding of the relationship between crime and community cohesion, based on insights from traditional and new data sources.


Research Affiliations

  • CSAP


Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND)

Conferences/training courses attended

Starting your Research Degree - 16/02/2015

Excel for Research Calculating Data – 27/03/2015

Introduction to R for Spatial Analysis – 16/03/2015

Early Careers Researchers Forum – 13th -14th April, 2015

GISRUK Conference 2015 – 14th – 17th April, 2015

Power Point Techniques – 23/04/2015

Time Management for your Research Degree – 13/05/2015

Effective Poster Presentation - 04/05/2016

WRDTC Advanced Quantitative Methods Training - 25/06/2016

WRTDC Social Media Analytics Training - 13/05/2016


Research publications

An Analysis of Temporal Rainfall Variability in Argungu Area over the Last Half Climatic Year (1995-2012): Implication on Rainfed Crop Production.

Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System(GIS) Application to Landsuitability Classification for Irrigation Farming in Argungu Fadama, Kebbi State of Nigeria.

Improvements in Geophysical Surface Soil Assessment and Classification using Modifying Jenny’s Equation of soil forming Factor in Sudan Savannah.

 Spatial Patterns of Tuberclosis Prevalence in Nigeria: A Comparative Analysis of Spatial Autocorrelation Indices

American Journal of Geographic Information System.



Mapping of Spatial Cases of Tuberculosis in Kebbi State Nigeria (2008-2011). Unpublished paper presented at GISRUK 2015 Conference held at University of Leeds 14th – 17th April, 2015.

Diversity and Crime in Leeds: Does Community Cohesion Matters?

GISRUK 2016 Conference Presentation held at University of Greenwich, London 29th  March - 1st April, 2016

Short Curriculum Vitae

BSc Geography -1997 (Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria)

MSc GIS -2012 (Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria)