Background: Disordered neighborhood environments are associated with crime, drug use, and poor health outcomes. However, research utilizing objective instruments to characterize the neighborhood environment is lacking.
Objectives: This investigation examines the relationship between objective measures of neighborhood disorder and juvenile drug arrests (JDAs) in an urban locale.
Methods: The neighborhood disorder scale was developed using indicators from the Neighborhood Inventory for Environmental Typology (NIfETy) instrument; a valid and reliable tool that assesses physical and social disorder. Data on 3146 JDAs from 2006 were obtained from the police department.
Results: Negative binomial regression models revealed a significant association between neighborhood disorder and the count of JDAs in the neighborhood (β == .34, p < .001). The relationship between neighborhood disorder and JDAs remained significant after adjusting for percent African-Americans in the neighborhood (β == .24, p < .001).
Conclusions: This preliminary investigation identified a positive and statistically significant relationship between an objective measure of neighborhood disorder and JDAs. Future investigations should examine strategies to reduce drug-related crime by addressing the larger neighborhood and social context in which drug involvement and crime occurs.