Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Forensic and Investigative Science

Committee Chair

James Nolan

Committee Co-Chair

Jason Manning

Committee Member

Joshua Woods


The ability of police to make an arrest for a crime is one of the most visible aspects of the criminal justice system. As a result, it is no surprise that clearance rates are one of the most commonly used measures of police effectiveness. Previous studies of clearance rates focus heavily on the clearance of homicide cases, as many researchers examine the effect of individual level characteristics on case outcomes. Using Donald Black's theory of law, which places an emphasis on social space, i.e., vertical and horizontal distances between victims and offenders, this study examines the effect of neighborhood characteristics on case outcome for the crime of aggravated assault. Logistic regression analysis (N=1575) indicates some support for Black's theory at the neighborhood level. However, the majority of variation in clearance rates appears to occur due to individual level factors.